Oklahoma Tea Party co-founder appears in court

Published: May 10, 2013
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party has made his initial appearance in an Oklahoma County courtroom on felony blackmail and computer crimes charges.

Al Gerhart appeared before Special Judge Russell Hall on Friday. The 54-yar-old Gerhart was ordered to appear before Special Judge Susan Johnson on June 6 for a preliminary hearing conference. Gerhart has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors say Gerhart sent a threatening email to a state senator about a bill to prohibit state organizations from following a United Nations plan to help cities and countries become more environmentally sustainable. An affidavit says Gerhart admitted sending the email to Republican Sen. Cliff Branan. Branan chairs the Senate Energy Committee.

The email allegedly demands that Branan hear the bill or be made “the laughing stock of the Senate.”


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