The Assistant U.S. Attorney laid out a strong closing argument against co-defendants, Joel I. Gilbert and David Roberson.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robin Beardsley Mark made the government’s closing statement. She began her statement talking about growing up as a daughter of a costume seamstress, watching the theater come to life on opening night and the actor shine. That’s what Robinson was in this scheme, she said.
“He was exactly the right person with exactly the right connections to deliver a message to the community,” Mark said. “His words and his presence would not go unnoticed.”
Mark asked the jury to look behind the scenes to see how this conspiracy played out. “Today were asking you to turn on the house lights,” she said, and look into the underbelly of Alabama politics.
“This case is not about the environment. It’s not about contamination. It’s about bribery. And no matter what side of the aisle you sit on, it’s not okay,” Mark said.
Kyle Whitmire of AL.com tweets more insight:
Mark now preempting some possible defense arguments, the first being that Robinson was paid to do “community outreach.” Mark says that there was community outreach — nine months into the contract, well after Robinson appeared before the AEMC and after Robinson first paid.
Huge hole in Gilbert’s testimony: Drummond CEO Mike Tracy asked Gilbert whether the contract had been vetted by Balch to confirm legality under Alabama ethics law. Gilbert told him yes. But that meeting happened BEFORE Gilbert ever asked Balch ethics staff about it. He lied.
Mark now returning to her theater theme. She plays a video where Robinson spoke before the AEMC, but she says that it’s time for the credits to roll, and those credits show who was responsible for the show — the defendants.
The defense will now lay out its closing arguments and we will post an update later.