TULSA — Former Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher wasn't in court to see it, but a judge Friday called off his tax-evasion trial.
Associate District Judge Dana Kuehn ruled Fisher instead will get another preliminary hearing in the tax case to determine if the evidence is sufficient for trial. She refused to dismiss the felony charge altogether.
The decision had no effect on Fisher's conviction in a campaign-corruption case. Fisher, 67, remains in prison in that case and is serving a three-year term. He chose not to come to court Friday.
The tax-evasion trial had been set to begin Feb. 11.
Assistant Attorney General Joel-lyn McCormick said prosecutors do not view Friday's decision as a defeat. She said they want a trial conviction to stand up on appeal.
Fisher is charged in the tax case with filing a false state tax return that understated his 1999 income. Fisher allegedly should have paid an additional $4,688 in state taxes.
An Oklahoma County judge last year moved the case to Tulsa. That judge ruled that Fisher must be prosecuted in the county where he signed the 1999 return.
Fisher had already had a preliminary hearing on the tax case in Oklahoma County. The Tulsa judge, Kuehn, ruled Friday that Fisher is entitled to another hearing because of the move.
She noted that a key issue at any preliminary hearing is whether the case belongs in that county. She said a Tulsa County preliminary hearing judge needs to decide that issue in Fisher's case.
Fisher still faces a bribery trial in May and two other trials later — all of them set to take place in Oklahoma County.
Fisher, a Democrat, was insurance commissioner for nearly six years before resigning in September 2004.