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Alabama: is it a bribe or a campaign contribution

The Birmingham News reports: Prosecutors and defense lawyers in the bingo vote buying case today tangled over where the line is between a legal campaign contribution and an illegal bribe.

Defense lawyers asked U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson to dismiss federal funds bribery charges against the defendants in the case. Prosecutors have alleged that casino owners used campaign contributions and other things of value to bribe legislators for yes votes on a gambling bill before them last year.

Sam Heldman, a lawyer representing Victoryland owner Milton McGregor, told Thompson that, for a campaign contribution to be a bribe, prosecutors should have to prove there was an explicit agreement between the donor and the politician that the politician agreed to take some official action in exchange for the money.

Otherwise, Heldman said, courts run the risk of criminalizing the normal political activity of accepting campaign donations.
-- Read the whole story --> Defense lawyers in bingo case ask judge to dismiss charges | al.com

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