Prosecutors call for significant, lengthy prison sentence for former leader of Oklahoma Senate

Federal prosecutors ask judge to reject former Oklahoma Senate leader Mike Morgan's request for probation. A jury convicted Morgan of taking $12,000 in bribes.
by Nolan Clay Published: November 2, 2012

Defense attorneys have asked the judge to take into account Morgan's lifetime of good works, “the weak and questionable evidence” that supported his conviction and his serious medical problems.

Prosecutors called on the judge to take into account other factors “that weigh heavily in favor of incarceration.”

“In particular, the sentence must reflect the seriousness of the offense, promote respect for the law, provide just punishment and — most importantly — afford adequate deterrence to other public officials,” prosecutors wrote.

“Mr. Morgan was one of a handful of the most powerful public officials in this state. While president pro tem, he was in a position to impose his will on the direction of state government. By allowing himself to serve the interests of those willing and able to pay him, he committed a crime more serious than bribery by lower-level officials,” they wrote.

About the trial

Morgan was Senate president pro tem in 2005 and 2006. He was Senate co-president pro tem in 2007 and 2008.

At trial, prosecutors put on evidence Morgan also took $250,000 in bribes from an energy company and $141,666 in bribes from a landfill company. Morgan insisted at trial he was paid for legal services.

Jurors acquitted Morgan of fraud counts involving the energy company.

They acquitted him of a conspiracy count involving a landfill company but deadlocked on other felony counts involving the landfill company.

Despite those outcomes, prosecutors want the judge to consider at the sentencing Morgan's acceptance of payments from those two companies.

They also want the judge to consider his acceptance of payments from the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives and a lobbying business known as The BKM Group.

Prosecutors wrote: “Although each ‘client' wanted something different, Mr. Morgan made himself available for the same purpose, which was to extract private gain from his public office.

He committed these offenses regularly. For example, he sent out invoices to each ‘client' every month. And all five entities paid Mr. Morgan during the same crucial period — when he was in Senate leadership.”


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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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