A judge ruled Monday state Rep. Randy Terrill and former Sen. Debbe Leftwich will not have to face a conspiracy count at their bribery trial.
Prosecutors said afterward they will appeal.
Terrill, 42, of Moore, is charged with offering a bribe to a candidate to withdraw. Leftwich, 60, of Oklahoma City, is charged with soliciting and/or accepting a bribe to withdraw.
Prosecutors at the preliminary hearing last month sought to add the conspiracy count to the existing felony case. Oklahoma County Special Judge Stephen Alcorn refused to allow it.
Monday, District Judge Ray C. Elliott upheld the preliminary hearing judge's decision. The next — and final — step for prosecutors is an appeal to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.
Elliott said prosecutors were prohibited from adding the conspiracy count because of a well-
He also said prosecutors had insufficient evidence of a conspiracy.
Prosecutors allege Terrill, a Republican, offered Leftwich, a Democrat, an $80,000-
They allege he acted to help a Republican friend's campaign for her Senate seat.
Both have denied wrongdoing.
Leftwich did not seek re-
Also, Terrill's friend, Rep. Mike Christian, chose to run for re-election instead of for the Senate because of the investigation.
Christian is not charged.
Leftwich's attorney, Robert McCampbell, said Monday that defense attorneys will ask another Oklahoma County district judge, Glenn Jones, to dismiss the bribery case before it comes to a trial.
“It is very weak, and we certainly expect to prevail at district court. Absolutely,” McCampbell said of the case.
Prosecutors want the conspiracy count in the case in part because it has a much harsher punishment than bribery.
A conspiracy conviction carries up to 10 years in prison. The maximum punishment for a conviction on the bribery charge is two years in prison.