Within days of joining the state's lottery commission, Kevin Geddings met with a man who wanted to do business with North Carolina, an attorney testified Monday at Geddings' federal fraud trial.
Joe Lucas, a Charlotte lawyer, said he arranged for Geddings to meet with a friend who maintained instant ticket machines for the Georgia lottery. The friend performed the work under contract with Scientific Games Corp., Lucas said.
Prosecutors have accused Geddings of failing to disclose to the State Board of Ethics that his Charlotte-based public relations firm received more than $250,000 from Scientific Games or companies it acquired. He is charged with eight counts of fraud and faces up to 20 years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines on each count.
Lucas told the jury his friend was "interested in expanding his business into other states."
Another lottery commissioner, Gordon Myers, declined to meet with Lucas and his friend because he was uncomfortable talking to a potential state lottery contractor, Lucas testified.
The meeting took place Sept. 27, 2005, five days after the announcement that Geddings would be appointed to the panel, Lucas said.
Geddings never agreed to help the friend find work, Lucas said during cross-examination.
The men also talked about GTECH Holding Corp., which was believed to be the primary rival to Scientific Games. GTECH ultimately won the contract to run the instant and online lottery games in North Carolina.
Prosecutors spent much of Monday morning laying groundwork for the specific charges in the indictment.
Lottery commissioner Bob Appleton identified an e-mail sent by Geddings to commissioners containing a news article about the Oklahoma state lottery.
"One day next year, this will be us," Geddings wrote in the e-mail. Scientific Games won the Oklahoma lottery vendor contract, although the company never was mentioned in the article.
Appleton said that he didn't believe that Geddings tried to promote Scientific Games during his six weeks on the commission or in the e-mail.
Prosecutors alleged in the indictment that sending the Oklahoma article constituted wire fraud.
"It was just an upbeat message, encouraging us to go along with the lottery, and we would be successful," Appleton said.
Earlier, Geddings testified without the jury present as his lawyer argued that an e-mail that the two of them exchanged shouldn't be allowed as evidence in the trial.
The e-mail included a chronology of events leading up to the fall of 2005, when Geddings was appointed to the state lottery commission. He resigned less than six weeks later, hours before Scientific Games disclosed that it had paid him $24,500 after his appointment.
Geddings testified that he put together the list at the request of his lawyers. U.S. District Court Judge James C. Dever III ruled that it was protected communication between a client and his attorney and ordered that the document be sealed.