Handwritten notes assert Oklahoma lobbyist was behind a plan to bribe former Sen. Mike Morgan

Former Senate President Pro Tem Mike Morgan is accused of taking more than $400,000 in bribes from three companies in exchange for his influence at the Capitol. On trial with him are longtime lobbyist Andrew Skeith and prominent attorney Martin Stringer.
BY NOLAN CLAY nclay@opubco.com Published: February 17, 2012
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A jury Thursday saw handwritten notes that prosecutors say prove lobbyist Andrew Skeith was involved in a conspiracy to bribe a state senator to influence landfill legislation.

Skeith is on trial in federal court in Oklahoma City with former Senate President Pro Tem Mike Morgan and prominent attorney Martin Stringer.

Testimony in the bribery, extortion and conspiracy case began Tuesday.

Prosecutors put into evidence Thursday five pages of notes written by an attorney who spoke with Skeith by phone in May 2005. The attorney, Ron L. Walker, worked with Stringer for a company, Dilworth Development Inc., that was seeking a permit to build a landfill in northern Oklahoma.

Most significant to prosecutors are the notes “red alert,” “runaway train,” “anything to be done to stop it,” “Senate — try to kill,” “Morgan — retainer,” “50K” and “after session over.”

Prosecutors contend the notes show Skeith alerted Stringer's law firm about an amendment to a bill that would have prevented Dilworth Development from ever building its landfill. They contend the notes show the lobbyist intended to get Morgan to kill the amendment.

Prosecutors contend the notes further show Skeith urged that Morgan be paid $50,000 in retainer fees after the legislative session was over.

Two owners of Dilworth Development have testified they hired Morgan in June 2005 for his political influence after being told he already had killed the amendment that would have halted their landfill plans. They agreed to pay him $50,000 a year.

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