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Testimony in Bribery Case Focuses on Leftwich

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

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Prosecutors finish up a third day in the preliminary hearing on bribery charges against Representative Randy Terrill and former Senator Debbe Leftwich.

Wednesday’s testimony focused mostly on the former Senator and the alleged $80,000 job at the Medical Examiner’s office.

Senator Charlie Laster who was in Spring of 2010 the Democratic Leader in the Senate testified he had a conversation with Leftwich in early May about her not seeking reelection later that year.

He says he was shocked to hear it with the general election just six months away.

But, he and Senator Andrew Rice, then minority leader-elect asked her to keep it quiet so they could get a good candidate to run.

But, Secretary of State Glenn Coffee, then the Senate President Pro Tem and GOP leader in the chamber says Leftwich told him in March she wasn’t going to run.

While on the witness stand Coffee was surprised to hear that she told him first and not the leaders in her own party.

Both Laster and Coffee said it would be improper to pass legislation which created a job for a state lawmaker.

Prosecutors say Terrill put language in a bill to allow Leftwich to become the new transition coordinator and make $80,000 a year for three years.

State Representative Al McAffrey testified he heard rumors Leftwich was attempting to get the job so he opposed the legislation.

He says he liked Leftwich but didn’t think she was qualified.

McAffrey says he brought his concerns to Governor Brad Henry who eventually vetoed the bill.

To show motive, the state called Rebecca Catlett, the benefits coordinator for the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System to the stand.

She says on a request from the DA she calculated Leftwich’s retirement if she got the job.

Leftwich would only have made about $26,000 a year if she got another four year term, but would pull in more than $43,000 a year if she got the transition coordinator job.

Prosecutors didn’t finish with their witnesses on Wednesday.

Testimony resumes Friday.

The Defense is expected to call their own witnesses which could include Former Governor Henry and House Speaker Kris Steele.

Special Judge Steven Alcorn will decide whether there’s enough evidence to send the case to trial.

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