State grand jurors on Thursday cleared Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater of any wrongdoing involving a 2006 victory party, and they condemned defense attorney Irven Box for making the allegations.
“I'm relieved,” Prater said.
The multicounty grand jury did indict one person — possibly for perjury. The indictment will be made public later.
In a 25-page report, grand jurors called the accusations about Prater “unfair, untrue and unjust.”
Grand jurors recommended Prater in the future let other prosecutors handle criminal cases against anyone who made a major donation to him to avoid having unjust allegations made about his conduct.
“It may be an act of some great personal, if not political courage, for a district attorney to prosecute the very persons who were important to him or her in accomplishing election to this very important public office,” grand jurors reported.
“The grand jury, however, believes such courage is both unwise and unnecessary. ... The district attorney places himself or herself in a ‘no win' situation in regard to the important and serious decisions that must be made in the presentation of every case. Every action undertaken by the district attorney under such circumstances may be subjected to second guessing that may lead to unfortunate, untrue and unfair allegations.”
Prater, a Democrat, said he will strongly consider the grand jury's recommendation if “faced with this issue in the future.”
Prater's accusers claimed the victory party on Nov. 20, 2006, at the Cafe Nova, a swank Oklahoma City restaurant, was actually a postelection fundraiser. The accusers claimed an attorney, Lewis B. Moon, paid for the entire party — spending more than $12,000. The accusers claimed the expense was an illegal, excessive campaign donation.
The accusers alleged Prater later showed favoritism to Moon after charging Moon with being in actual physical control of a car while intoxicated.
The accusers also alleged Prater let campaign donations from two attorneys, Josh Welch and David Ogle, influence his prosecution of them in a bribery case.
Grand jurors rejected the accusations, specifically saying they identified the true sponsors of the 2006 victory party. Grand jurors reported Moon did not pay for the party. “Mr. Moon did not commit the felony crime of over-contribution to a campaign as alleged by others,” the grand jury reported.
The grand jury reported Prater's accusers obtained a false statement from the restaurant owner and created a bogus invoice to make it look like Moon paid for the party.