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Ex-Senate leader testifies in Oklahoma bribery case

By TIM TALLEY Published: November 2, 2011

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — It would be inappropriate to pass legislation that creates a state job for a state lawmaker, the former leader of the Oklahoma state Senate testified Wednesday during a preliminary hearing for a current and a former lawmaker accused of bribery.

Secretary of State Glenn Coffee, a former president pro tem of the Senate, was testifying during the hearing that will determine whether state Rep. Randy Terrill and former Sen. Debbe Leftwich are bound over for to trial on felony bribery charges.

Prosecutors allege that Terrill, a Republican, offered Leftwich, a Democrat, an $80,000-a-year job at the state Medical Examiner's Office last year in exchange for Leftwich's promise not to seek re-election so a Republican, Rep. Mike Christian, could run for her seat.

Coffee testified that it would not have been inappropriate for Leftwich to apply for the job, but said guaranteeing her the position is not allowed.

“That's special legislation, and I don't think that's permissible,” he said.

Terrill and Leftwich each deny wrongdoing. Christian has not been charged, and testified Tuesday that he refused an offer of immunity from prosecution because he felt he had done nothing wrong.

Christian initially announced himself as a candidate for Leftwich's seat, but withdrew from the race after prosecutors announced an investigation into how the job was created. He was later re-elected to his House seat.


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