State Sen. Bobby Denton speaks out against FBI bingo probe - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

State Sen. Bobby Denton speaks out against FBI bingo probe

By Trang Do - Bio | Email

MUSCLE SHOALS (WAFF) - State Senator Bobby Denton is speaking out over the federal investigation into possible corruption surrounding the electronic bingo bill.

The bill passed the State Senate Tuesday with the required 21 votes, but investigators are questioning what's behind the bill's passage.

Many are saying Sen. Denton was the swing vote that allowed it to pass, and he's under scrutiny because he had never voted in favor of previous gambling bills during his decades-long career as a state senator.

Denton, however, said this bill is different, and he voted with his heart and without influence.

He said he's hurt and dismayed at being unfairly singled out.

"Ladies and gentlemen, after 32 years in the State Senate, now my integrity has come under attack," Denton said.

Before a group of his family and close friends, First District Senator Bobby Denton (D) defended himself against an investigation he said has smeared his name and his long legacy as a senator.

"This all hurts me greatly," he said. "My family will tell you, I have been absolutely devastated."

Denton has been questioned twice by FBI agents over his votes on two different electronic bingo bills introduced by Senator Roger Bedford, (D) 6th District. 

The first, Denton voted against, but the second he voted in favor of -- a move that has raised eyebrows with federal investigators.

"I voted to let the people of Alabama decide whether they wanted to change the Constitution to have regulated taxed gambling in Alabama or keep it the way it is, unregulated and untaxed," he said.

Denton said Bedford's second bill was a simpler, clearer bill than the first.

He said he agonized over the decision and after talking to both his wife and his minister, he felt it was the right thing to do.

"I have never taken anything for any vote as a member of the State Senate in the state of Alabama and I never will," Denton said. "In fact, I have never even been asked."

Denton at first questioned who would want to target him, but said he does have an idea of who might be pushing the investigation.

"I think the Republican party is definitely involved in it, although two of their members voted for it," he said.

Lawyers for a casino lobbyist said they also believe the investigation is politically motivated.

An aide for Governor Bob Riley said he has nothing to do with the investigation.

©2010 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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