Courtroom drama plays out like movie

Published 7:28 pm Friday, July 29, 2011

Columnist Steve Flowers this week compared the gambling trial to a John Grisham novel, and that’s an apt comparison.

The court proceedings have been high-profile media events, with newspapers and televisions providing live coverage via Twitter feed and hourly blogs, as well as just about everyone with an opinion about the legality of gambling – and the likelihood that bribes were offered – sharing their thoughts in coffee clubs and around office coolers.

Now, after calling just one witness, the nine defendants in teh trial rested their case on Friday.

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Kaput. That’s it.

For two months Alabamians have followed the gripping testimony of the key players in the case, including Troy’s own Jarrod Massey, the lobbyist who pleaded guilty earlier and has provided damaging testimony for the prosecution.

None of the nine defendants testified, neither the current or former legislators, the lobbyists or the casino owners.

It was great, made-for-movies drama. But as taxpayers, we wanted to hear from the defendants. We wanted the lawmakers to tell their side of the story, to provide some sort of explanation or answer to offset the prosecutions claims.

And, even though we’ve watched the issue play out in newspaper pages for months now, we wanted to hear from casino owner Milton McGregor.

Instead, we’ll have to wait. Closing argument sbegin Wednesday and likely will last until Friday. At that point, the case will go to the jury for deliberations. And that key group of men and women will have a mighty task at hand as they try to find and mete out justice in this ongoing saga.

It’s the courtroom drama that would make Grisham proud.