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Legislators testify against fellow lawmakers

Filed by Michael Cross in Feature, Local News, News, Politics.
November 2, 2011

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Prosecutors in the preliminary hearing against Representative Randy Terrill and former Senator Debbe Leftwich held their second day of testimony.

Tuesday’s witnesses included fellow lawmakers.

The only witness to take the stand Wednesday morning was Senate staffer Jennifer Mullins.

Mullins testified about a closed door meeting she had with Terrill and Leftwich and Senator Anthony Sykes.

She says Terrill had new language he wanted added to a Senate bill which would allow the Medical Examiner’s Office to move next to the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.

Terrill’s language created a transition coordinator position for the ME’s office including an $80,000 a year salary and a three year fixed term.

Mullins said a House member using her to change a Senate bill was unusual as was the fact that it contained information on pay and limits to employment.

Prosecutors say it was that job Terrill was trying to create for Leftwich so that she wouldn’t run for reelection last year.

One of the afternoon witnesses included a lawmaker who the state believes was picked to run for Leftwich’s seat, Representative Mike Christian.

Christian testified he considered it, but chose not to after the investigation by the Oklahoma County District Attorney started.

He said he heard rumors about Leftwich not running again and talked about it at a Sine Die party after a few drinks.

That got the attention of Leftwich who told him he needed to be quiet because she hadn’t told her own Senate leadership.

Leftwich is a Democrat, and Christian a Republican.

Republican Senator Patrick Anderson also took the stand to testify about a discussion he had with Leftwich in April of that year.

She told him she missed working at the ME’s office and was currently working with the Republican leadership in the Senate to return.

Leftwich told him she couldn’t say anymore about it.

He says it would be unusual for a Democratic lawmaker to talk about not seeking reelection with the GOP leaders without first talking to her own party.

State Treasurer Ken Miller who was then the House Appropriations Chair also took the stand saying he was supportive of Terrill’s new bill including the transition coordinator position.

But, he says if he had known the job was expected to go to Senator Leftwich he would have opposed it.

Miller testified that it would be against the Oklahoma constitution of letting lawmakers hold a state position within two years of leaving office.

The bill which was passed by lawmakers was eventually vetoed by Governor Brad Henry because of the transition coordinator position.

Governor Henry is one of the people who could be called by the defense.

But first prosecutors have four to six witnesses they need to call to finish testimony which they hope to do later today.

Special Judge Stephen Alcorn has set aside Wednesday and Friday to finish up testimony.

He will then decide if there’s enough evidence to send the case to trial.

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