Indicted former Oklahoma judge gives up practicing law

Indicted former Oklahoma judge Craig S. Key is accused of embezzling from clients and stealing cattle.
by Nolan Clay Published: April 26, 2013

A former judge has resigned as an attorney, a week after being charged with embezzling from clients and stealing cattle.

Craig S. Key, 47, surrendered Thursday in Lincoln County District Court on his three indictments.

He is free after posting $10,000 in bail. He must wear an ankle monitor, turn over any passport and stay within 100 miles of Chandler.

Key was the Lincoln County associate district judge who lost re-election in 2006 after he was widely criticized over a young girl's death.

Kelsey Smith-Briggs, 2, was killed on Oct. 11, 2005, from a blow to her abdomen at her Meeker home.

Key had ordered the girl returned to her mother even though the mother was suspected of abusing her. No one was convicted in her death. Both her mother and stepfather are in prison for enabling child abuse.

Key later wrote a book, “A Deadly Game of Tug of War: The Kelsey Smith-Briggs Story,” defending his judicial decision.

The state's multicounty grand jury alleged in one indictment that Key and two other men stole 13 head of cattle in September. The grand jury alleged in the other indictments that he embezzled $57,238 from one injured client in 2010 and $14,345 from another injured client in 2011.

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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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