Prosecutors are asking a federal appeals court to order a trial judge to resentence former Oklahoma state Senate leader Mike Morgan to “a substantial period of incarceration” on his bribery conviction.
Prosecutors contend U.S. District Judge Robin Cauthron abused her discretion when she gave Morgan probation. They called probation “unreasonable” for the case.
They argued that punishment — the least severe possible — could lead other public officials to conclude the benefits of taking bribes outweigh the risks.
“Rather than deterring public corruption, a probationary sentence here could easily encourage it,” prosecutors told the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a legal brief filed Wednesday. “Similar public-corruption cases, featuring defendants with personal characteristics similar to Mr. Morgan's, routinely result in meaningful prison terms.”
A federal jury last year found Morgan, a Democrat, guilty of accepting $12,000 in bribes to influence legislation in 2007. Morgan, an attorney, testified at the trial in Oklahoma City federal court that the payments were for legal work.
In January, the judge sentenced Morgan to probation for five years.