Former Oklahoma Senate leader Mike Morgan was under FBI investigation for years, prosecutor says

Former Oklahoma Senate leader Mike Morgan was under FBI investigation for years before his indictment Wednesday in a public corruption case, U.S. Attorney Sandy Coats said Thursday.
BY NOLAN CLAY nclay@opubco.com Published: April 1, 2011

Former Senate leader Mike Morgan was under FBI investigation for years before his indictment Wednesday in a public corruption case, a federal prosecutor and Morgan's defense attorney say.

“This investigation has been ongoing for a number of years,” U.S. Attorney Sandy Coats said Thursday at a news conference in Oklahoma City.

Morgan, 56, is a Stillwater attorney who left the Senate in 2008.

Morgan, Edmond lobbyist William Andrew Skeith, 52, and Oklahoma City attorney N. Martin Stringer, 70, are charged with conspiracy, extortion and mail fraud. Morgan also is charged with bribery.

All three deny wrongdoing. They will make their first court appearances next week. The trial could be later this year, the prosecutor and Morgan's attorney said.

Coats said, “The crimes charged in this case go to the heart of our republic and how our system of government operates. When elected officials decide public policy based upon secret payments, they are abandoning this country's core principle that government should be of the people, by the people and for the people.”

Defense claims that the indictment is politically motivated were called absurd by the prosecutor. Asked if the FBI probe is over, Coats said, “The indictment is not the end of the investigation in most cases.”

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