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Defendants innocent in Ala. casino trial

March 7, 2012 at 4:50 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala., March 7 (UPI) -- Six defendants in the retrial of a government corruption case in Montgomery, Ala., were acquitted Wednesday.

The verdicts in the case involving VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor and five other defendants were announced by the jury after a week of deliberations, The Birmingham (Ala.) News reported.

VictoryLand is a former casino complex.

The six defendants -- McGregor; lobbyist Tom Coker; former Country Crossing casino spokesman Jay Walker; state Sen. Harri Anne Smith and former state Sens. Larry Means and Jim Preuitt -- were accused of offering or accepting bribes involving a 2010 gambling bill, the newspaper said.

The newspaper said the bill would have sheltered bingo casinos from state efforts to shut them down by authorizing a statewide vote on gambling.

The case first went to trial last summer, but though jurors returned multiple not guilty verdicts they said they were deadlocked on other charges, the News reported. In the retrial, prosecutors pared down the charges.

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