As the criminal trial against Balch & Bingham partners Joel I. Gilbert and Steven McKinney set to start on Monday, June 25th with jury selection, the question observers have is will either of them flip and take a plea deal?
We had reported after the indictments for the $360,000 bribery scheme were handed down that there had been speculation that due to his age, maybe McKinney would become a federal witness instead of facing a literal life sentence in federal prison.
Now there is speculation that Gilbert may cut a deal since he is at the prime of his life and doing 3 or 4 years now is better than 10 or 15 years if convicted.
Sources tell us that Gilbert appears to be emotionally drained and could be suffering from sleepless nights.
Although recent FEC reports do not show payroll deductions from Gilbert to Balch’s federal political action committee, we do know he was on Balch’s payroll through December 30 of last year.
Gilbert’s loyalty to the firm and his clients has been unwavering.
However, one’s own life and tight-knit family will obscure those loyalties.
Just ask Dickie Scruggs (pictured) who plead-out over a $10,000 bribe to save his son and family. He served 6 years in federal prison.