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Bankston Defense Says Prosecutors Spied On Strategy In Trial

30 August 2000

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA –Aug. 30, 2000 – As reported by The Associated Press: "Former state Sen. Larry Bankston, convicted in a 1997 bribery scheme involving a video poker parlor owner, lost a bid to clear his name Wednesday when a federal judge refused to grant him a new trial.

"…His request hinged on the allegation that the government got a sneak preview of the defense strategy when the FBI wiretapped former Gov. Edwin Edwards' law office during the government's unrelated investigation of the former governor and his son, Stephen Edwards.

"However, U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance rejected the argument, ruling late Wednesday morning and saying she would issue her written reasons later.

"…Bankston's defense team talked about strategy and tactics in the video poker case by telephone with the Edwardses and in person at the law office, Koch said in the motion.

"As a result, the wiretap was used to spy on Bankston's defense, thus violating client-attorney confidentiality and denying Bankston his constitutional right to effective counsel, the motion said.

"… Bankston and another former senator, B.B. "Sixty" Rayburn, were accused of accepting or agreeing to accept bribes from one-time Slidell video poker parlor owner Fred Goodson in exchange for protecting video poker from local-option referendums.

"…Bankston was found guilty of two counts of interstate communications in aid of racketeering…"

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