More than 400 supporters of former state Sen. Mike Morgan wrote letters asking a judge for leniency at his sentencing for a bribery conviction.
Two U.S. congressmen, university presidents, legislators, lobbyists, former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer and former Oklahoma State University basketball coach Eddie Sutton were among those who wrote character letters filed Friday.
Morgan, 57, of Stillwater, faces up to 10 years in prison. He wants probation and still says he is innocent.
He is asking U.S. District Judge Robin Cauthron to take into account at sentencing his lifetime of good works, “the weak and questionable evidence” that supported his conviction and his serious medical problems.
“At the darkest moment in his life Mike Morgan deserves credit for his exceptional good works,” his attorney, Jack Fisher, wrote in a sentencing memo.
The attorney told the judge the 419 character letters “provide ample proof Mike Morgan is, always has been and will continue to be a law-abiding citizen for the rest of his life.”
“He has the support of his family, including his brother, sister ... daughter, his ... father and two former wives. He also has the support of hundreds of friends, lawyers, judges ... legislators, congressmen, doctors ... dentists, farmers, ranchers, laborers and a community of fine upstanding people not only in Stillwater and throughout Oklahoma but in 19 other states.”
The attorney also wrote that Morgan, an attorney, already has suffered extreme punishment because of his conviction and will either be suspended or disbarred from practicing law.
“Sentencing Mike Morgan to federal prison will not yield any additional deterrent effects. What Oklahoma lawyer, legislator or lobbyist would trade places with Mike Morgan even if he is granted probation?” Fisher wrote.
The attorney disclosed Morgan suffers from “uncontrollable anxiety, depression and an extraordinary elevated blood pressure.”
Morgan, a Democrat, was accused in a federal indictment last year of taking more than $400,000 in bribes from three companies seeking to influence legislation.
Jurors on March 5 found Morgan guilty of accepting $12,000 in bribes from only one of the companies. That company, Silver Oak Senior Living, operated assisted-living centers and was based in Edmond.
A company owner, Sam Crosby, told jurors he met with Morgan at the Capitol in May 2006 and asked Morgan for help — possibly legislatively — to get health officials off his back. He testified Morgan said to him, “This is the way it works: You pay me a $1,000-a-month retainer.”
Morgan in 2007 was the author of assisted-living legislation that became law.
Morgan's defense attorney at trial claimed Crosby made up his testimony because he is awaiting sentencing for bank fraud and wanted to please prosecutors.
Jurors acquitted Morgan of fraud counts involving an energy company. They acquitted him of a conspiracy count involving a landfill company but deadlocked on other felony counts involving the landfill company.
Morgan was Senate president pro tem in 2005 and 2006.
He was Senate co-president pro tem in 2007 and 2008.
Morgan insisted the three companies paid him for legal services, not to influence legislation.
“I never sold my seat,” Morgan testified at the trial in Oklahoma City's federal courthouse.
Prosecutors will file their own sentencing memo in November. A sentencing hearing has not been scheduled yet.