The dismissal of a bribery charge against a member of Gov. Kevin Stitt's cabinet didn't put an end to former Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter's political fallout.
Secretary of Digital Transformation David Ostrowe announced that he is preparing to sue the former attorney general for abuse of process, libel, slander and a potential civil rights violation.
"The time is now to stand up against those who use their political legal influence to benefit them and their families and damage others for their own personal gain," Ostrowe said. "We are all victims when unscrupulous people in power, abuse that power. "
In December, the state's multi-county grand jury issued an indictment charging Ostrowe with attempted bribery of an official.
The indictment alleged that Ostrowe attempted bribery by pressuring two Oklahoma Tax Commission members to drop penalties and late fees owed by an ex-state lawmaker’s business.
Ostrowe has denied any wrongdoing.
The case against Ostrowe was dropped last week following an announcement that Hunter would be stepping down as attorney general.
He said personal matters would become a distraction for the office.
News 9 sources said Hunter had been involved in an extramarital affair with a state employee.
Court records show he'd also recently filed for divorce after 39 years of marriage.
His resignation was effective June 1.
On his way out the door, Hunter dropped Ostrowe's case saying his office faced a potential conflict of interest in the prosecution.
But the recent shake-up at the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office and subsequent dismissal of the case is not enough vindication for Ostrowe.
"I am seeking legal action against those who unlawfully, recklessly, and intentionally created harm against me with a frivolous and abusive indictment," Ostrowe said during a news conference.
Ostrowe and his attorney Matt Felty said Wednesday, they delivered evidence preservation letters to former Attorney General Mike Hunter, Oklahoma Insurance Department's General Counsel Kim Bailey, and several other state agencies in anticipation of litigation.
"The indictment and the underlying misuse of the grand jury should have never been brought in the first place," Felty said. He believes there is evidence to prove the indictment was devoid of evidence and facts.
Although the letters were not immediately made public, Felty said they will require the preservation of text messages or emails on cell phones and burner phones containing encrypted communication apps.
“We believe that evidence may show that the former A.G.’s motivation, in whole or in part, was driven by a personnel decision involving Kim Bailey," Felty explained.
He said they are also seeking evidence on personal and state-issued computer hard drives, servers, and tablets.
"The forensic analysis of this evidence will be key to this investigation in the anticipated litigation of those responsible for bringing a frivolous indictment against David Ostrowe," Felty explained.
News 9 reached out to Kim Bailey with a series of questions regarding her alleged personal relationship with Hunter and if it interfered with any state business.
“I have no comment on insinuations made by Mr. Ostrowe,” Bailey said. “The attached email is evidence of my withdrawal from the Tax Commission's recruiting process at my own impetus. I don't have any further comment at this time.”
Bailey provided News 9 with an email dating back to September 2020. According to the email, Bailey notified the commission that she was withdrawing as an applicant for the Tax Commission’s general counsel.
Hunter did not immediately respond to News 9's request for comment.
The Attorney General's Office released the following statement, defending the initial indictment:
“This case was referred to our office by state officials. The process undertaken was identical to every other case brought before the grand jury. Witness testimony is sworn under oath and lying before the grand jury is a felony. The grand jurors heard testimony and made the decision to issue an indictment.” - Alex Gerszewski, Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office Communications Director