Former Senate leader Mike Morgan spoke in a clear voice at his arraignment Wednesday in a public corruption case, telling a judge, “My plea is not guilty.”
Attorney Martin Stringer was next, saying, “Not guilty on everything.” Lobbyist Andrew Skeith then had his turn, saying, “Not guilty, your honor.”
U.S. Magistrate Judge Valerie K. Couch allowed the three to remain free after each personally promised her to make future court appearances. She did not require them to post any bail. She gave them until noon Friday to surrender their passports.
She scheduled a jury trial for May, but a delay is almost certain. Morgan's attorney, David Ogle, said later he does not expect the case to go to trial next month because of its complexity.
A federal grand jury March 30 indicted Morgan, 56, of Stillwater, Stringer, 70, of Oklahoma City, and Skeith, 52, of Edmond.
Their arraignment Wednesday in Oklahoma City federal court lasted 13 minutes.
The three are charged together with two counts of conspiracy, one count of extortion and 59 counts of mail fraud. Morgan faces an additional count of bribery.