As the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation works with outside prosecution to investigate the allegations against former Oklahoma County Judge Timothy Henderson, defense attorneys said this first post-conviction appeal is only the tip of the iceberg.
Convicted drug dealer Aaron Fort was sentenced to 23 years in prison last year in now former judge Henderson's courtroom. His attorneys said one of the prosecutors on the case was having an alleged affair with Henderson at the time.
Fort's public defenders recently filed a 33-page appeal citing Henderson's alleged sexual misconduct as the basis for a new trial.
“Really it’s a necessity they raise those issues,” defense attorney Clay Curtis said. “And my understanding is they’re filing documents about search warrants and referencing items that have been filed.”
Curtis said Fort's due process rights were violated in Henderson's courtroom, along with several of his clients.
“I think it creates some real doubt to the whole judicial process,” Curtis said. “Which is supposed to be a fair process.”
He anticipates more appeals as the investigation continues. Defense attorneys will be looking at other convictions that involved the alleged victims and Henderson.
“We’re looking at a multitude of post-conviction appeals filed both on jury trials, non-jury trials and pleas in his court,” defense attorney Irven Box said.
Henderson has presided over a number of high-profile trials including convicted serial rapist and former Oklahoma City officer Daniel Holtzclaw. A conviction that now comes into question.
“I think that could cause a basis for the Holtzclaw case,” Box said. “Who was doing the same thing that it’s been alleged Henderson was doing.”
Henderson has not been charged. His attorney said the relationships with the women were consensual.