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Sooner Tea Party co-founder charged with blackmail

BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Modified: April 9, 2013 at 5:41 pm •  Published: April 9, 2013
The co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party political organization has been charged with blackmail and violation of the computer crime act over an email he allegedly sent to a state senator.

The charges were filed Tuesday in Oklahoma County District Court against 54-year-old Al Gerhart. The charges allege Gerhart committed the felonies on March 26.

An affidavit says Gerhart sent an email to state Sen. Cliff Branan of Oklahoma City concerning a bill pending in a committee that Branan chairs. The affidavit says the email threatened to make Branan “the laughing stock of the Senate” if the bill was not heard.

The bill was not considered and Branan turned the email over to investigators.

Gerhart did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment. has disabled the comments for this article.