Oklahoma County D.A. Responds To Filing Bribery Charges Against Lawmakers

Thursday, December 23rd 2010, 1:22 pm
By: News 9

Adrianna Iwasinski, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Thursday, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater responded to questions about why former state Senator Debbe Leftwich and current State Representative Randy Terrill have not been booked into the Oklahoma County jail, even though felony charges were filed Wednesday.

Prater said it is not unusual when they know the attorneys of defendants in white collar, non-violent situations to give them the opportunity to surrender their client.

"This is not uncommon when dealing with lawyers," said Prater. "They will be booked in, they will have mug shots, and they will be fingerprinted."

Prater also confirms that neither the current nor former lawmakers are flight risks. Both Terrill and Leftwich are expected to turn themselves in to authorities next week.

As to questions about the timing of the filing of the charges happening so close to Christmas, Prater said there's nothing behind it.

"December 22 is just like any other work day at the Oklahoma County Courthouse," said Prater. "There were a number of cases at the courthouse that caused us to focus our attention away from the investigation for a period of time."

An Oklahoma City pharmacist on trial for murder is just one of the cases Prater cites that has caused a number of delays due to the change in judges and numerous hearings relating to the matter. Prater has also been recently involved in two other high profile trials.

"If people want to criticize the timing, they need to take a look at the timeline of all that has happened," said Prater. "Our office has filed about 8,500 felonies and 8,000 misdemeanors in the past year alone."

The attorney's for Representative Terrill and former Senator Leftwich responded to the charges Thursday.

Attorney Stephen Jones is representing Terrill in the matter. Jones was also the attorney who represented convicted Oklahoma City Bomber Tim McVeigh in the federal trial.

He said there is no factual or legal basis to the allegations against his client.

"The charges are utterly baseless," said Jones.

He said Terrill will turn himself in the morning of January 3.

Attorney Robert McCampbell, who represents Debbe Leftwich released this statement on behalf of his client:

"Senator Leftwich has done nothing wrong and has not committed any crime. We will look forward to responding in court where we are confident that the charges will be dismissed in their entirety."

McCampbell said he does not have a firm date on his client would be turning herself in, but confirmed it should be in the next week to 10 days.

More: Rep. Randy Terrill, Former Sen. Debbe Leftwich Charged With Bribery