A judge refused Wednesday to postpone former state Sen. Debbe Leftwich's bribery trial.
Her jury trial is set to begin Dec. 9. Her attorney asked for a three-month delay because of the intense publicity surrounding the conviction of her co-defendant, former state Rep. Randy Terrill.
“There is no chance Debbe can receive a fair trial in December,” the attorney, Robert McCampbell, said.
Oklahoma County District Judge Cindy Truong disagreed. She said 12 jurors can be found among the 700,000 residents of Oklahoma County.
The judge pointed out that there had been publicity before Terrill's trial, too, but the first 22 people considered for his jury had never heard of him.
Jurors Oct. 29 found Terrill guilty of a felony — offering a bribe to a candidate to withdraw.
The jury in that trial agreed Terrill, a Republican, offered Leftwich, a Democrat, an $80,000-a-year state job at the medical examiner's office in 2010. Prosecutors alleged Terrill bribed her to induce her not to run for re-election to her Senate seat that year.
Jurors chose a punishment of one year in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Leftwich, 62, of Oklahoma City, is charged with soliciting and/or accepting a bribe to withdraw. She has pleaded not guilty. She faces up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine if convicted of the felony charge.
Her attorney told The Oklahoman Wednesday that her trial “will show that the evidence is very different with respect to Debbe Leftwich as compared to Randy Terrill.”
“We will ask the jurors to give Debbe the fair and independent trial she deserves,” he said.
Leftwich was not present for the hearing Wednesday.
The judge Wednesday did agree to postpone Terrill's formal sentencing until after Leftwich's trial to avoid even more pretrial publicity.
The formal sentencing for Terrill, 44, of Moore, had been set for Dec. 6.