A judge Thursday ordered separate jury trials for two former legislators in their 2010 bribery case.
The trial for former state Rep. Randy Terrill is scheduled for Oct. 21. The trial for former state Sen. Debbe Leftwich is scheduled for Dec. 9.
Prosecutors allege Terrill, a Republican, offered Leftwich, a Democrat, an $80,000-a-year state job in return for not seeking re-election in 2010. Both were in the Legislature at the time.
At a hearing Thursday, Oklahoma County District Judge Cindy Truong refused defense requests to dismiss the case.
Terrill, 43, of Moore, is charged with offering a bribe to a candidate to withdraw. Leftwich, 61, of Oklahoma City, is charged with soliciting and/or accepting the bribe to withdraw. They deny wrongdoing.
Attorneys for both defendants asked for separate trials. The judge agreed, saying she didn't want either defendant to be unduly prejudiced by testimony about statements made by the other defendant.
Of particular concern to Leftwich was a statement Terrill reportedly made at a meeting at the Capitol before recommending Leftwich for a new position at the state medical examiner's office. Leftwich was not at the meeting.
Terrill said, “This is dead man's talk,” according to testimony from two key witnesses at the preliminary hearing in 2011.
What ruling means
The ruling Thursday means jurors at Leftwich's trial likely will not hear that testimony about that statement at her trial.
“It sounds sneaky,” Leftwich's attorney, Robert McCampbell, told the judge.
Leftwich did not seek re-election in 2010 but she did not get the job at the medical examiner's office. The reform bill creating the job was vetoed after District Attorney David Prater announced an investigation.
The maximum punishment for a conviction in the felony case is two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.