Judge: Ala. witnesses aimed to hurt black turnout

AP News
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Posted: Oct 21, 2011 9:51 PM
Judge: Ala. witnesses aimed to hurt black turnout

The judge who presided over Alabama's gambling corruption trial says two of the prosecution's key witnesses demonstrated "a deep-seated racial animus" and a desire to suppress black voter turnout when they helped the FBI investigate claims of Statehouse vote buying.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson released a blistering 44-page opinion Thursday evening that said state Sen. Scott Beason and former Rep. Benjamin Lewis portrayed themselves as lawmakers trying to root out corruption when they recorded meetings and phone calls with gambling proponents. But the judge said they were trying to keep a pro-gambling referendum off Alabama's 2010 general election ballot to suppress black voter turnout and help Republicans gain control of the Legislature.

Beason said Friday he was still studying Thompson's opinion and would make a statement later. Lewis, now a district judge, did not return phone calls from The Associated Press.