FRIDAY, AUGUST 12, 2011
Bingo Jury Gives Obama Justice Department a Kick in the Crotch
The era of political prosecutions more or less started in Alabama with the Don Siegelman case during the George W. Bush years. Perhaps it ended here yesterday, in the Obama years, when a federal jury in Montgomery rendered no convictions in an electronic bingo/vote buying trial.
Jurors deadlocked on some charges and found not guilty on all others. That’s nine defendants, 37 counts, and zero convictions, for those of you keeping score at home. It was as if the jury sent the U.S. Justice Department this resounding message: “Take your bogus political prosecutions and jam them up your . . . ” Well, you get the idea.
Andrew Kreig, of the D.C.-based Justice Integrity Project, called it “one of the most remarkable setbacks nationally” for federal prosecutors in decades. Kreig also nailed it when he wrote, “this was a humiliation of epic proportions for the Obama Justice Department and its Bush DOJ holdovers.” Kreig goes on to outline the bumbling that accompanied the investigation:
The government, including the Republican state administration of two-term Gov. Bob Riley spent vast amounts in its investigation, prompted in part by Riley’s public stance of opposing gambling. Riley last year sent 135 police vehicles on a dawn raid to shut down the Country Crossing electronic bingo casino in Dothan, for example. That police raid proved to be a public relations disaster that in effect previewed this week’s. A YouTube video of the raid showed that the casino was already closed upon the arrival of what became known as the “Riley’s Raiders” police armada, which seemed more suitable for quelling an armed urban riot than raiding a bingo parlor. On top of all the planning that must have gone into the 4 a.m. operation, troopers arrived without a search warrant and therefore had to return to HQ on that basis also.