The Norman Transcript

October 22, 2013

Jury seated in trial for ex-lawmaker in Oklahoma

By Sean Murphy
The Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — A seven-man, five-woman jury was selected Monday for the trial of a former Oklahoma legislator accused of bribery.

The jury, along with two alternates, will determine the fate of former Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, who is accused of offering to set up former Sen. Debbe Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City, with a state job in exchange for a promise not to seek re-election in 2010 so that a Republican colleague of Terrill’s could seek her open seat.

Both Terrill and Leftwich have maintained their innocence. Defense attorneys have said Terrill did not have the authority to promise Leftwich a job, and Terrill has said the charges were politically motivated.

Opening statements in the trial are scheduled for today, and Judge Cindy Truong said testimony could last up to two weeks. Leftwich will be tried separately, and her trial is scheduled to begin next month.

Truong’s questions centered on jurors’ experience with the legal system and their ability to be fair to both the prosecution and defense.

“A trial is the search for the truth, and the end result should be justice,” Truong told jurors.

Prosecutors have alleged Terrill and Leftwich schemed for Leftwich to get an $80,000-a-year-job at the state Medical Examiner’s Office and not seek re-election to her south Oklahoma City seat so that a GOP colleague of Terrill’s, current state Rep. Mike Christian, could seek the post. Christian was never charged and was re-elected to his House seat.

The bill that created the state job was vetoed by former Democratic Gov. Brad Henry after District Attorney David Prater’s investigation into Terrill and Leftwich surfaced. Henry is listed as a potential witness for prosecutors, along with former Republican House Speaker Chris Benge and Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee.

Terrill and Leftwich face up to two years in prison and a $1,000 fine if convicted.