Staff and Wire Reports
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The former leader of the Oklahoma Senate has pleaded not guilty to federal bribery, conspiracy, extortion and mail fraud charges.
Former Senate President Pro Tem Mike Morgan entered the plea in federal court Wednesday in a 63-count indictment accusing him of accepting more than $400,000 from three companies for his influence on legislation.
Lobbyist William Skeith and attorney N. Martin Stringer also pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, extortion and mail fraud. All three left the court without comment.
Morgan allegedly took illegal payments from a company that wanted to build a solid waste landfill, one that wanted to build a power plant and a company seeking to limit the state Health Department's regulation of assisted-living centers. The indictment alleges the payments were disguised as legal fees.
At the hearing, News 9's crews said Morgan appeared to be in good spirits, even joking with his lawyer. The three men handed over their passports and were released.
All three men are scheduled to be back in court May 9.