The allegations stunned the Alabama Statehouse: lawmakers accused of selling their votes on legislation to legalize electronic bingo games at a time when the then-governor was ordering raids on gambling halls to seize the machines.
The buyers? According to federal prosecutors, those who would benefit most: casino owners who made a killing from gamblers attracted to the flashing lights and colors of the electronic machines.
The trial against two sitting senators and two former ones, a well-known casino owner and four others lasted more than two months that included a week of deliberations by jurors who Thursday delivered a stunner of their own — no convictions.
"The jury didn't give the government a thing, not a single thing," defense attorney Susan James said.
The inquiry started when three Republican legislators told the FBI they were offered campaign contributions if they would support the legislation.