EDMOND — A witness in the illegal gambling case against Teddy Mitchell was attacked in July at his insurance office here.
Michael Wayne Thomas, an insurance agent, suffered a concussion from the July 27 assault, his attorney, Ed Blau, said. No arrests have been made.
Thomas, 41, is both a government witness in the federal gambling case and the focus of an Oklahoma City police homicide investigation.
Police detectives this year have focused on Thomas in their efforts to solve who brutally beat Mitchell's wife, Julie, to death in 2010, sources have told The Oklahoman.
FBI agents questioned Thomas about being assaulted, his attorney said.
An Oklahoma City police homicide detective and an Oklahoma County district attorney's investigator also talked to him about the July assault, the attorney said.
“He was at his office,” Blau said. “It was around 2 in the afternoon ... and somebody came to the door and he opened it up. And he said there was ... a very big white guy.”
The attorney said Thomas described the man as resembling a mixed martial arts fighter. The attorney said the man immediately just attacked Thomas.
“I mean, punched him, tried to choke him, tried to hit him in the head with a brick, all those sorts of things. And he ... finally got away,” the attorney said. “At that point, some other people ... saw. And the guy who did it went and jumped in a truck that somebody else was driving. And they drove off.”
The attorney said Thomas recalled the attacker asked if he was Mike Thomas.
Thomas was treated at a hospital.
“I saw him the day after and he was just all messed up — black eye, bruises all over him, cut on his head,” Blau said.
Investigators have tried to identify the attacker from DNA on hair found in a baseball cap that fell off, the attorney said.
Thomas in May denied having anything to do with the fatal beating of Julie Mitchell even though his company checkbook was found at her Oklahoma City home after she was killed there.
“I — 100 percent — did not,” he said in May. “That's for sure. I was not there at the time.”
Police this year searched Thomas' Edmond home and Edmond insurance office and seized computers during their investigation of Julie Mitchell's death. Police also collected a DNA sample from him and spoke to an ex-wife.
Last week, Thomas declined to comment on being attacked. Thomas asked a reporter to call his attorney instead.
The FBI put Thomas in a hotel room for his protection for about a week after the assault because he is a witness in the gambling case, sources told The Oklahoman.
A federal grand jury this month indicted Mitchell, two of his sons, six other men and a Costa Rican company.
Mitchell, 57, is accused in the 81-count indictment of being the leader of an illegal gambling organization that had proceeds of at least $8.1 million.
Mitchell both hosted illegal high-stakes poker games at his Oklahoma City home and illegally took bets from across the country on sporting events, according to the indictment. He eventually sent clients to a sports betting Internet site run by the Costa Rican company, according to the indictment.
Thomas played poker at Mitchell's home, sources said.
Mitchell's attorney, Scott Adams, said last week, “What Teddy did was all legal. Everything he did was legal. ... They're misrepresenting what's going on. ... He was a professional gambler.”
About the attack on Thomas, Adams said, “Obviously, Teddy had nothing to do with it.”
Adams said Thomas owes money to “everybody in town.” Adams suggested somebody upset over a debt was behind the attack.
Thomas filed a bankruptcy petition last November, listing almost $330,000 in liabilities. He asked a bankruptcy judge to allow him to make monthly payments over five years to take care of his debts.
The bankruptcy judge in April rejected his payment plan and dismissed the bankruptcy case.
In a 2011 lawsuit, Mitchell accused Thomas of failing to pay off a $20,000 loan. Thomas denied owing the money. The case is pending.