George Leonard Berry testified at his trial yesterday that he was only an unpaid consultant on numerous Alexandria bingo games in 1977 and 1978, rather than an operator of an illegal gambling operation who received unrecorded cash payments, as charged by the prosecution.
Berry, 48, testified in Alexandria Circuit Court that any money he received from his bingo activities was actuallu payment fot work he had done at a Fairfax County bingo parlor run by the same company that ran the Alexandria games.
Berry, under cross-examination by special bingo prosecutor Edward J. White, said that sinve he was an unpaid consultant in Alexandria, no records were kept of any compensation for him there. He had no direct answer to White's question why no mention of his salary could be found in the Fairfax County gingo hall records.
Berry, a retired U.S. Army service club manager, is accused of operating an illegal gambling operation in the name of three charities at the Arlandria bingo hall, 3819 Mount Veron Ave., Alxandria, from Dec. 5, 1977, to last May 7. Berry has also been indicated on similar illegal gambling charges stemming from his activities in Fairfax County, at the Bonam bingo parlor, from which he received cash.
Berry is the first major bingo defendent to come to trial since indicaments were handed down by the Alexandria grand jury last August.
He told the jury in Judge Wiley H. Wright Jr.'s courtroom yesterday he had never divided the nightly bingo proceeds up into two large bags, one for himself, and one for indicated bingo operator Alva Ford Thompson as charged by an earlier witness. "That's not true," he said,adding that the money was put in one bag for deposit in banks.
Berry also denied taking "six or seven-inch high" stack of paper money from Thompson's office, as asserted in testimony Tuesday from undercover Alexandria policewoman, Kathleen Bralove, who posed as Thompson's secretary.
Berry said that what Bralove actually saw a plastiv paperweight filled with paper and covered on top and bottom with one-dollar bills. The paperweight was one of the "gimmicks and tricks" he used to encourage increased bingo playing at the hall, Berry added.