The prosecutors in the bribery case against a former Senate leader have found a new witness — a Nichols Hills man in prison for stealing $10 million from an oil and gas company.
The jury trial for former Senate president pro tem Mike Morgan, prominent attorney Martin Stringer and lobbyist Andrew Skeith is set to begin Feb. 13 in Oklahoma City federal court.
The new witness is Jerry Dale Cash, the former chief executive officer for Quest Resource Corp., Quest Energy Partners and Quest Midstream Partners.
He was sentenced in November 2010 to nine years in federal prison for misappropriating $10 million in company funds for his personal use.
Cash now is claiming Stringer made a confession to him about the bribery case, according to court records. The two were social acquaintances.
Prosecutors disclosed Cash's claim to defense attorneys Jan. 5.
Upset defense attorneys now are demanding records so they can find out more about how Cash came to be a “star” witness in the case. They have told a judge Cash is fabricating his claim.
“His motive for concocting a story regarding Stringer is clear — leniency regarding his own sentence,” attorney Drew Neville wrote in a legal filing.
“As to Cash's credibility, some things are certain. The government even contends that he is a liar and a thief. Cash stole $10 million from investors who trusted him and spent the money on a lavish lifestyle for himself, including a multimillion dollar mansion in Nichols Hills that included a personal gym, an exotic fish pond and a full-time gardener on the premises.”
A federal grand jury in March indicted Morgan, 56, of Stillwater, Stringer, 71, of Oklahoma City, and Skeith, 53, of Edmond. They have pleaded not guilty.
In a trial brief Friday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Williams wrote: “The United States will prove at trial that Mr. Morgan accepted more than $400,000 from three companies when he knew that, in exchange for the payments, those companies expected him to assist them in his official capacity as an Oklahoma
“Mr. Morgan, who happens to be an attorney, accepted all of the payments in the guise of monthly retainer fees, although he performed virtually no legal services for any of the three companies.”
The prosecutor wrote Stringer was the lead Oklahoma counsel for two of the companies and Skeith was the Oklahoma lobbyist for those two companies.
Morgan, a Democrat, was Senate president pro tem or co-president pro tem from March 2005 until November 2008, according to the indictment. His lead attorney, David Ogle, has said he did legitimate legal work for the
Stringer contends he acted honestly, even having lawyers in his firm research state ethics rules about the propriety of Morgan serving as an attorney for companies while he also served as a legislator.
“He even contacted the executive director of the Ethics Commission in order to further vet the issue,” Stringer's attorneys told the judge.
The three are charged together with two counts of conspiracy, one count of extortion and 59 counts of mail fraud. Morgan faces an additional count of bribery.
A hearing in the case is set for Monday morning.