Judge rules sufficient evidence for bribery trial for state Rep. Randy Terrill, former Sen. Debbe Leftwich

Oklahoma County special judge's decision comes on the fourth day of the preliminary hearing.
BY NOLAN CLAY nclay@opubco.com Modified: November 4, 2011 at 8:42 pm •  Published: November 4, 2011
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Prosecutors allege Terrill, a Republican, offered Leftwich, a Democrat, a bribe — a new $80,000-a-year job at the medical examiner's office.

Prosecutors allege he wanted her to drop her 2010 re-election effort so one of his Republican friends could win her Senate seat.

Leftwich is charged with soliciting and/or accepting a bribe to withdraw as a candidate.

During the hearing, the judge heard testimony that Terrill was the legislator who added the new job — a transition coordinator — to a bill to reform the medical examiner's office. The judge also heard testimony Terrill pressured the chief administrative officer at the medical examiner's office to hire Leftwich.

Legislators are prohibited by the state constitution from taking state jobs paid from state appropriations until after they have been out of office for two years.

Prosecutors allege Terrill sought to get around the prohibition by arranging for the transition coordinator job to be paid for from state fees on cash wire transfers. The three-year position was to have overseen a relocation of the medical examiner's office.

Defense attorneys Friday asked the judge to throw out the case on several grounds.

Their chief argument is that, legally, Leftwich never filed for re-election with the state Election Board. The attorneys contend that means she was not a candidate and could not be bribed to withdraw from the race.

Prosecutors contend she became a candidate under another part of the law when she began raising money in 2007 for a 2010 campaign. They contend she withdrew from the race when she sent out a statement on the last day of the 2010 legislative session that she was not running after all.

Leftwich did not get the transition coordinator job. Gov. Brad Henry vetoed the reform bill in June 2010 after District Attorney David Prater announced an investigation into how the job was created.

Terrill had subpoenaed the former governor to testify at the hearing but did not end up using Henry as a witness.


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