Judge refuses to vacate former Oklahoma Senate leader's guilty verdict

A federal judge in Oklahoma City turned down former Senate leader Mike Morgan's first challenge to his bribery conviction. Morgan, a Democrat, wanted the judge to vacate the guilty verdict and then order his acquittal.
by Nolan Clay Published: May 31, 2012
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Former state Senate leader Mike Morgan on Wednesday lost the first legal challenge to his federal bribery conviction.

In a two-page order, his trial judge refused to toss out the jury's guilty verdict.

Morgan, 57, of Stillwater, had argued the evidence at his trial was insufficient to support his conviction. He wanted the judge first to vacate the guilty verdict and then acquit him of the bribery charge.

“There was evidence offered at trial which would establish each element of the crime of conviction,” U.S. District Judge Robin Cauthron wrote. “That Morgan can now offer an innocent explanation for that evidence does not entitle him to acquittal.”

Morgan next will ask the judge to grant him a new trial. He has 10 days to file his request.

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.

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.

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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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