Ronnie Gilley and Prosecutor Kendall Day worked through testimony to lay out timelines for each of trial defendants.
The first timeline was for Sen. Preuitt. Gilley discussed how he and Jay Walker worked together to put together plans to get Sen. Preuitt's vote including using country music stars to promote Preuitt's campaign and working a poll for Preuitt's district. Gilley told the court that buying a fleet of trucks from Preuitt's dealership in Talladega was on the table. In a phone call, Walker told Gilley, "I want Preuitt to know I'm involved, because I told him I would be." At one point Preuitt told Gilley he was accustomed to funding his campaigns on his own, but this time was different because he had a tough opponent. Milton McGregor was heard in a taped conversation telling Gilley regarding Preuitt's vote, "I can't dictate what you do or don't do. I realize that. But this is survival for not just me, but my whole industry, but particularly me...and we need his vote. I got more riding on it than anything and I need his vote."
Gilley told the court that he worked with McGregor's lobbyist, Tom Coker, to secure Preuitt's vote. Gilley says Coker was the "point-man." McGregor told Preuitt on the phone, "We need to zero-in on Preuitt like a laser beam."Gilley said he shared his and Massey's plans for Preuitt with Coker. Gilley told McGregor on a phone call that they were going to "stay on Preuitt like white on rice." After the vote, Sen. Smith and Sen. Preuitt were meeting in Smith's office when Gilley called to speak to Smith. Smith handed Preuitt the handset and Gilley got on the phone and thanked Preuitt for "supporting democracy." Preuitt replied, "It wasn't a situation I had a problem with. I didn't particularly like the first bill."
Gilley explained that he used "drop phones" hoping that calls regarding his illegal activities couldn't be traced. He didn't know at the time his regular cell phone, as well as Massey and McGregor's cell phones were being recorded. Gilley also defined McGregor's use of the word "cheese." When McGregor said things like "You're delivering the cheese," to Coker it meant delivering the money.
Gilley also explained how he and McGregor discussed how to avoid a "direct quid pro quo." When Gilley was on the phone with someone he wanted to "bribe" he always talked about "supporting democracy." Gilley says democracy was his cover for illicit activity.
Prosecution then moved on to questioning Gilley regarding Sen. Means. Gilley said the first time he met Means was when they were all arrested. In a conversation played for the court, between McGregor and Means, Means can be heard saying, "If Etowah County isn't in it then I'm definitely not going to be for the bill." McGregor told Means, "You're a friend and I'd like to help my friend." Means told McGregor he was going to need help for his upcoming campaign. McGregor told him, "Whatever it takes for Larry Means to come back, that's what we're gonna do. That's the bottom line." Gilley told the court about the phone call he got from Massey that said Means was "shaking down" Pouncy for $100,000. Gilley says he told Massey to give Means the money - they needed the votes badly.
Then gears shifted towards Sen. Harri Anne Smith. Gilley explained the first time he met Smith. He gave her a $5,000 check for her campaign which she later returned. Her campaign manager said she couldn't accept money from a "casino boss" and they needed to "wash it." Gilley explained he gave Smith somewhere in the neighborhood of $600,000 for her campaign including in-kind contributions. He said Smith was the one who went after Beason's vote - she felt they could get it with a $500,000 contribution. Beason, Massey and Gilley all met together in Montgomery - Gilley said they had several conversations with Beason about money and that he didn't like Scott Beason from the get-go. Gilley explained, "I did not like Scott Beason. I did not trust him. . . I wanted to make sure I did not say anything that he could construe as illegal." Gilley rehearsed his conversation about money with McGregor before bringing in Beason. Gilley explained McGregor told him to "follow his lead." Beason recorded that conversation for the FBI. In it, McGregor is heard saying, "You need some new friends." Beason replied, "No doubt about that." McGregor added, "Ronnie will tell you, we got a bad habit of supporting our friends."
The government entered McGregor's tax records into the court as evidence. In 2009, on his income tax return, McGregor reported an adjusted gross income of $28,330,000.44. His 2010 return reported a loss of $2,541,091.00. Macon County Greyhound Park also reported a loss of $4,177,400.00 where it had posted profits in 2009.
Massey is heard in the background of the tape with McGregor and Beason as saying "We aren't going to call this a quid pro quo." McGregor said they'd consider Beason's vote a "litmus test." McGregor told Beason, "We need your help. And I promise you won't regret helping us. We support friends who support us...in a significant way."
Ultimately Beason requested $1 million a year in return for his vote, however, when it came down to it, Beason voted no on the BIR. Gilley says McGregor essentially told him not to mess with Beason anymore leading up to the regular vote on SB 380.
Gilley is heard in a conversation still telling Sen. Smith to "lean on Beason a little bit. And anybody else for that matter." Gilley explained he still thought they needed Beason's vote.
With regards to campaign contributions to Sen. Smith, Gilley said that Smith's campaign manager asked him to "wash as much money as they could" so it couldn't be traced back to Gilley. Gilley says Smith was present for that conversation and there was no way she couldn't have heard it.
Gilley said it was Smith's idea to get French's vote. He said Smith wanted him to purchase insurance policies for Country Crossing through French's insurance business in exchange for French's vote. Eventually they gave up on that idea and decided that French was a "no" vote. Gilley said Smith was already working to secure votes for when the bill made it to the house. She contacted Gilley asking if he would be able to do a poll for a house member.
In March 2010 Gilley says Smith asked him for a large campaign contribution - $400,000 to be broken in half, the first half paid before the vote, the second half to be paid after the vote. Gilley says he broke the first $200,000 payment into four $50,000 payments that each went to different PACs. One check Smith is heard asking Gilley to send through the Tennessee Valley PAC, the other was going to go through the Real Democrat PAC. Gilley raised issue with the democrat PAC, Smith is heard on a phone call saying it was OK because they were going to "move it through another one." Gilley said Smith asked him for money on a regular basis. At the end of one call between Smith and Gilley, Smith is heard saying, "If you see something I need to be doin', Ronnie, or if I'm doin' something you don't like, you make sure to call me and tell me." She said she valued his opinion.
Gilley told the court that Smith called Massey looking for the other $200,000 campaign contribution the day after the vote, which consequentially was the day the FBI broke the investigation.
At the very end of the day we heard the first of two conversations Shannon Holliday tried to play during Jennifer Pouncy's testimony. Prosecutor Edward Kang objected to their use and said they were "explosive" and that the jury wouldn't be able to consider any of the other evidence if those tapes were played first. Thompson allowed the prosecution to play the tapes, even though McGregor's camp attempted to introduce them first, because the prosecution included the transcripts in their evidence pre-trial.
In the first tape a group of members of the Republican party including Sen. Scott Beason, Sen. Ben Brooks, Sen. Larry Dixon, Sen. Jabbo Waggoner, Sen. Paul Sanford, Sen. Rusty Glover and Republican Caucus member Monica Cooper. In the conversation, the group is discussing what they can do to "kill" the gambling bill. They work on tallying up the votes to see if it has enough to pass the senate - Sen. Smith and Sen. Preuitt are both mentioned as "yes" votes. One person says, "It's all about the politics," Sen. Beason is heard replying, "This one's all about the money." That's when the conversation takes the "explosive" turn. One person, a male voice, says "If this bill passes the legislature, every black in this state will be bused to the polls…on HUD financed busses."
Gilley told the court he wasn't present for any part of that meeting. Prosecutor Day referred to the speech as "despicable" and Gilley said it was "nauseating." Gilley told Day, "As I said earlier, I never liked Scott Beason."
Day asked Gilley, after knowing Beason took part in this conversation, if he'd know about it at the time, would he have still offered Beason the money? Gilley said if it came down to it, if Beason was the 21st vote, he still would have made the offer.
The jury will return at 9:00 a.m. Friday. We will start off with the second "explosive" conversation.