The bribery case against two former legislators can advance to trial now that an appeals court has resolved a legal issue that had the case on hold, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
“We're ready,” Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said.
Former state Rep. Randy Terrill and former state Sen. Debbe Leftwich were charged in 2010 with bribery.
Prosecutors later sought to add a conspiracy count to the felony case but two judges rejected that request. Prosecutors then took their request to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.
The appeals court on Wednesday, in a 4-1 decision, also ruled against prosecutors.
“The decision of the court below was right. There is no evidence sufficient to support the last-minute proposed addition of this conspiracy charge,” the appeals court said.
Defense attorneys said the two former legislators will be vindicated.
“We are appreciative of the court's ruling that there was not sufficient evidence to support the conspiracy charge. We will look forward to going to district court where proceedings will show there is not sufficient evidence on the other charges as well,” said Leftwich's attorney, Robert McCampbell.
The conspiracy issue was before the appeals court for 14 months.
Prosecutors allege Terrill, a Republican, offered Leftwich, a Democrat, an $80,000-a-year state job to not run for re-election in 2010.
Prosecutors contend Terrill was trying to help a Republican friend who was planning to run for her Senate seat.
Leftwich, 61, of Oklahoma City, did not seek re-election, but did not get the state job. Brad Henry, then governor, vetoed a reform bill creating the job at the medical examiner's office. Henry acted after the district attorney announced an investigation.
Terrill, 43, of Moore, is no longer in the Legislature. He ran for Cleveland County commissioner last year but lost. He said in August he has been doing consulting work on political campaigns.
Both defendants could be back in court as early as Friday so their preliminary hearing judge can formally order them to face trial.
If convicted, they face up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.