A state legislator testified Wednesday he urged the then-governor to veto a 2010 bill to reform the medical examiner's office after hearing rumors a state senator would get a newly created job there.
“I didn't agree with it,” said Rep. Al McAffrey, D-Oklahoma City.
McAffrey was the 15th and possibly final prosecution witness to testify at a preliminary hearing in a political bribery case.
He was asked to return Friday to finish his testimony in the felony case against state Rep. Randy Terrill, 42, of Moore, and former state Sen. Debbe Leftwich, 60, of Oklahoma City.
Prosecutors allege Terrill, a Republican, offered Leftwich, a Democrat, a bribe — an $80,000-a-year medical examiner's job — to not run for re-election in 2010. Prosecutors allege he wanted her gone so one of his Republican friends could win her Senate seat.
Prosecutors allege Terrill had language added to the reform bill to create the job of a transition coordinator to oversee a planned relocation of the medical examiner's office.
Leftwich is accused of soliciting and/or accepting a bribe.
Both deny doing anything wrong. Their attorneys argue no crime was committed.
McAffrey testified Wednesday that he was supposed to be one of the legislators who reviewed the reform bill before it went to final votes in the House and Senate in May 2010. He said no one would get him a copy of the final version.
McAffrey, a funeral director, testified he later found out that the transition coordinator position had been added to the bill. He said he considered that a major change.
He testified that he approached Gov. Brad Henry at the Capitol after hearing rumors Leftwich would get that job. He said he did not consider Leftwich to be qualified for it and asked Henry not to sign the bill.
McAffrey explained he thought the already troubled state agency didn't need more problems by hiring Leftwich.
Henry eventually vetoed the bill.
In other testimony Wednesday, a co-author of the 2010 reform bill testified he didn't think the transition coordinator job was being created for a specific person.
“That's special legislation, and I don't believe it's permissible,” said Glenn Coffee, then the Senate president pro tem.
Coffee, who is now secretary of state, testified he had heard Leftwich, and others, might be interested in applying for the new position. Coffee, a Republican, said Leftwich told him sometime in March that she might not run for re-election.
An Oklahoma County special judge is hearing the testimony. Judge Stephen Alcorn must decide whether the prosecution evidence is sufficient for a trial.
Prosecutors put on evidence Wednesday that Leftwich's state retirement pay would have jumped 87.5 percent if she had served as a transition coordinator for three years. The judge was told Leftwich's state retirement pay would have increased from $23,040 a year to $43,200 a year. Prosecutors called that a motive.