26 May 2014
By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—The District Attorney for the 17th Judicial Circuit, Greg Griggers, obtained an indictment for “perjury and lying” against three individuals who were instrumental in the 2011 raid on gaming facilities in Greene County. The problem for Griggers is that those individuals worked for the State’s Attorney General Luther Strange.
According to a report by the Greene County Democrat, “Griggers…. confirmed that three people had been indicted in connection with the 2011 raid, Desmond C. Ladner, the ‘gaming expert’ and two law enforcement officers connected with Strange’s staff.”
Griggers has confirmed that the Attorney General’s Office has moved to quash the indictments against these individuals.
While Strange has the constitutional right to supersede the authority of a local DA, this move by the Attorney General has raised eyebrows across the State.
Griggers told the Democrat that, “...he would file a motion alerting the court of the potential ethical violations of Strange taking over a case that involves people working on his staff or on his behalf.”
The motions filed by the AG are sealed, but a public hearing in the matter will be held May 28, in Greene County Circuit Court.
The investigation that led to the charges of “perjury and lying,” against those working for Strange stem from an order, given by Judge Houston L. Brown, to return seized property to Greenetrack because the search warrant issued on May 31, 2011, was “defective and should be and it is hereby SET ASIDE and held for naught” (The Order’s emphasis).
According to court records, Lieutenant Gary Michael Reese of the Alabama Beverage Control Board and Desmond C. Ladner, the State’s “gaming expert,” both made false or misleading statements in securing the search warrant to raid the Greene County bingo operations.
In his ruling, Judge Brown wrote: “It is apparent the State presented statements which are clearly false, misleading, or were made with a reckless disregard for the truth.”
Brown also wrote that, “…the affidavit… presented to the Court in chambers by the State’s gambling expert must be disregarded.”
The Alabama Supreme Court overruled Brown and the property was not returned to the bingo operations.
Currently, the Attorney General’s Office has taken control of the case against the three individuals indicted in Greene County.
The AG’s office declined comment on the matter.
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