“It went really well this morning,” said Greenwood attorney Hiram Eastland from Austin, who also worked on the appeal of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. “We were really encouraged that the panel asked thoughtful questions regarding the issue of required quid pro quo.”
In legal terms, quid pro quo is receipt of something valuable in exchange for a bribe. Federal prosecutors were not required during Minor’s 2007 trial to show that he received favorable rulings from two state court judges as a direct result of loan guarantees and cash loan payoffs Minor made for the judges.
A 2005 trial ended with a hung jury on bribery charges against Minor and the judges. In the 2005 trial, U.S. District Court Judge Henry T. Wingate did require a finding that the judges ruled in Minor’s favor because he guaranteed and paid off their loans.
Another encouraging sign for Minor’s defense: one member of the three-judge panel recused herself from hearing the case. A Democratic appointee replaced 5th Circuit Judge Priscilla Owen, whose recusal Minor’s legal team sought because of her ties to Republican political operative Karl Rove.
Minor has long argued that he was a victim of Rove’s political strategy to undermine Democratic candidates by going after their contributors. Minor, a multi-millionaire, was a major contributor to Democratic candidates before his indictment in 2003.