Sandy Coats, U.S. Attorney has Bigger Fish to Fry, Punts Morgan’s Case to Speed Appeal

Sandford Coats, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma announced he would not be retrying Mike Morgan, convicted on one count of bribery, for the 28 counts of extortion and mail fraud, political crimes where the jury could not reach a verdict.  The jury hung up on the facts as presented by the prosecution and the judge declared a mistrial on the 28 counts.

Coats said that his office filed a motion to dismiss all the charges that created the condition known as a hung jury because he felt that the most time Mike Morgan would serve would be ten years and the one bribery conviction would net him the maximum time.

The motion stated that the Government doesn’t intend to prosecute Morgan further, however, they reserved the right to prosecute in the future on the discovery of new evidence.

Here is the article written by the reporter for the Journal Record:

By Ken Miller
Guest Columnist
Posted: 05:31 PM Monday, March 12, 2012

 OKLAHOMA CITY – The U.S. attorney in Oklahoma City filed a motion Monday to dismiss the remaining 28 charges against convicted former Oklahoma Senate leader Mike Morgan after a jury deadlocked on a verdict last week.

Morgan was convicted March 5 on one count of bribery, but the jury could not agree on verdicts on the remaining one count of extortion and 27 counts of mail fraud, and a mistrial was declared on those counts.

U.S. Attorney Sanford Coats released the filing to the Associated Press that asks for the dismissal of the unresolved charges without prejudice, meaning they could be refiled later.

Neither Coats nor defense attorney David Ogle immediately returned telephone calls from the AP seeking comment.

Coats said in the motion that he doesn’t believe a conviction on the additional 28 counts would lead to more prison time for Morgan, who faces up to 10 years under federal sentencing guidelines.

“Assuming that defendant Morgan’s bribery conviction becomes final after any appeal, the government does not intend to prosecute him further,” the document states.

Ogle has said that Morgan will appeal the jury’s verdict.

By dismissing the charges without prejudice, the motion states that prosecutors will have the option to again file the charges “in the unlikely event that the conviction is reversed or vacated.”

“Because the government seeks simply to ensure that defendant Morgan is held accountable for his criminal conduct, there is no reason for the court to dismiss … with prejudice,” which would prevent prosecutors from refiling the charges.

Morgan, 57, a Democrat from Stillwater, allegedly conspired with lobbyist William Andrew Skeith, 53, of Edmond, and attorney N. Martin Stringer, 71, of Oklahoma City, to illegally accept more than $400,000 from three companies that sought his influence on pending legislation between 2005 and 2008.

Morgan testified in his defense that the payments were for legal services that he performed for the companies.

The charges against Skeith were dismissed Feb. 24 by U.S. District Judge Robin Cauthron, and the jury acquitted Stringer on 29 counts after Cauthron dismissed half the counts against him.

 

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