More than three dozen current and former elected officials are among the potential witnesses in the political corruption trial for former Senate leader Mike Morgan.
A jury of 11 women and one man was selected Monday to hear testimony in the bribery trial in Oklahoma City federal court. The jurors include a nurse, public school employees and the former mayor of a small city.
U.S. District Judge Robin Cauthron told jurors the trial could last two to four weeks or longer. The jury will hear opening statements Tuesday morning.
A key prosecution witness is Dave Herbert, a former state senator from Midwest City, who is now a lobbyist.
Listed as potential defense witnesses are former Gov. Brad Henry, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, Secretary of State Glenn Coffee and more than 30 other former and current legislators.
The judge read off the witness names during jury selection Monday.
Morgan was once one of the state's most powerful legislators. He is accused of taking more than $400,000 in bribes from three companies in exchange for influence at the state Capitol that included killing unfavorable bills and supporting helpful bills. Prosecutors allege the bribes were disguised as checks for monthly retainer fees.
Defense attorney David Ogle said Morgan was paid for his work as a lawyer. The defense attorney stressed to jurors Monday that Oklahoma law allows legislators to have other jobs.
On trial with Morgan are longtime lobbyist Andrew Skeith and prominent attorney Martin Stringer. They represented two of the companies. They are accused of conspiring with Morgan.
Morgan, 57, of Stillwater; Stringer, 71, of Oklahoma City, and Skeith, 53, of Edmond, were indicted in March. All three have pleaded not guilty.
Morgan, a Democrat, was Senate president pro tem or co-president pro tem from March 2005 until November 2008, according to the indictment. The monthly payments to him stopped when he left the Legislature.
Prosecutors told the judge Monday they have not decided yet whether they will call as a witness Jerry Dale Cash, the former chief executive officer for Quest Resource Corp., Quest Energy Partners and Quest Midstream Partners. He is in federal prison for misappropriating $10 million in company funds for his personal use.
Cash claims Stringer confessed to him. The two were acquaintances.
Stringer's attorneys claim Cash is fabricating his claim in hopes of getting a lighter sentence.
Among those excused from the jury Monday was a man who admitted he had a bias against lobbyists.
After jury selection concluded, Morgan's attorney told news reporters, “We're pleased with the jury. Confident they'll do the right thing.”