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VictoryLand Goes to Trial: AG Strange Subpoenaed As Witness

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—At 10:30 today, Milton McGregor, owner of the VictoryLand Casino, will have his day in court. “We are prepared and will prove at the trial that the Macon County Amendment allows all forms of bingo including electric,” says Attorney Joe Espy, who represents Milton McGregor, and VictoryLand. Espy says that his team will prove the machines in question are machines and not slot machines.

Espy also confirmed that State’s Attorney General Luther Strange has been subpoenaed to appear as a witness at the trial, to be heard by Montgomery Circuit Judge William Shashy.

At issue is whether the electronic devices and the cash seized at VictoryLand are actually illegal as General Strange has declared, or if they are in fact legal because of the constitutional amendment passed in Macon County in 2003.

The casino, located in Shorter, has been closed since Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange orchestrated a raid in February, 2013.

Much of the State’s case is based on the testimony of the AG’s chosen gambling machine expert, Bob Sertell. However, Sertell died earlier this year, which caused a delay in the trial, and sent the AG looking for a new gaming machine expert.

The State’s new expert is former FBI agent, William Holmes.

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In August, Espy filed a motion to disqualify Holmes as the State’s expert on the grounds that he lacked the proper background training and expertise in the matter of electronic gaming devices.

Holmes worked as an F.B.I. agent from 1968 until his retirement in 1988. His primary focus during his tenure with the agency was in “book making operations, sports betting, prostitution records, loan sharking, and numbers.” The motion by Espy states that “From 1978 until he retired in 1988, Mr. Holmes “examined” video gambling machines by playing them repeatedly and making notes about his observations.” Holmes is the sole employee of Bill Holmes & Associates.

In contrast, Espy says that his team will offer the leading expert in the country, Professor Nelson Rose, “who is a recognized expert and authority in the field of gaming, gambling and bingo.” He also says that they will call as a witness, “an independent expert from the largest certifying and testing company in the world as an expert on the machines.”

Espy is heading into court confident that they will offer a winning argument on behalf of VictoryLand.

“We believe that the testimony will be overwhelming that Macon County should be able to go back to work,” Espy said.

Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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