U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson in an order today lambasted two key prosecution witnesses in the State House vote-buying case as being motivated by political ambition and racial prejudice.
Thomson said Republicans Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale and former Rep. Benjamin Lewis of Dothan had ulterior motives when they assisted investigators in the case. Beason and Lewis were key prosecution witnesses in the case, in which VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor and others were charged with offering and taking bribes to try to get a gambling bill approved in the Alabama Legislature. The two Republicans said they approached FBI agents after they felt gambling interests made improper offers to try to secure their votes on the bill.
"The evidence introduced at trial contradicts the self-serving portrait of Beason and Lewis as untouchable opponents of corruption. In reality, Beason and Lewis had ulterior motives rooted in naked political ambition and pure racial bias," Thompson wrote.
"The court finds that Beason and Lewis lack credibility for two reasons. First, their motive for cooperating with F.B.I. investigators was not to clean up corruption but to increase Republican political fortunes by reducing African-American voter turnout. Second, they lack credibility because the record establishes their purposeful, racist intent," Thompson wrote.
Ouch. But that's not all:
Beason wore a wire for the FBI, and the recordings picked up a conversation among Republicans talking about the effect a gambling referendum would have on voter turn-out during an election.
They talked about how "every black, every illiterate," would be taken to the polls on "HUD-financed buses."
In another conversation, Beason used the word "aborigines" to refer to people at Greenetrack, a casino in predominately black Greene County.
Thompson said such statements "demonstrate a deep-seated racial animus and a desire to suppress black votes."
Want more? Here ya go:
Beason, Lewis, and their political allies sought to defeat SB380 partly because they believed the absence of the referendum on the ballot would lower African-American voter turnout during the 2010 elections. One of the government’s recordings captured Beason and Lewis discussing political strategy with other influential Republican legislative allies. A confederate warned: “Just keep in mind if [a pro-gambling] bill passes and we have a referendum in November, every black in this state will be bused to the polls. And that ain’t gonna help.”
Keep in mind this is the same Scott Beason who is one of the chief supporters of H.R. 56, the immigration bill currently being struck down in parts by federal courts
Let's be honest: the GOP has had a field day this past decade and the last using the courts and these corruption cases to tar, feather and remove Democrats, their supporters and possibly voters who lean Democrat, out of play and out of pocket. It's part and parcel of a movement to make Alabama a one-party state for Republicans, as well as obscure GOP-facilitated corruption that goes on in the background.
So I'm not surprised to see a guy who thinks of himself as the next Jeff Sessions attempt to tilt the playing field in his party's favor by discouraging staunch Democrat voters from voting. This, on top of efforts nationwide to suppress Democrat votes.
Meanwhile, a suit was filed in federal court alleging the systematic exclusion of blacks from criminal case juries, specifically ones that involved the death penalty.
Alabama, don't you ever change.
Hat tips to Redeye and Legal Schnauzer.