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Elected leaders, governor to testify in high-profile bribery trial


OKLAHOMA CITY – Many of Oklahoma’s elected leaders, including an Oklahoma governor, took the stand in a bribery trial of a former state lawmaker.

Prosecutors say former Oklahoma Rep. Randy Terrill offered former Oklahoma Sen. Debbe Leftwich a new $80,000-a-year state job at the Medical Examiner’s office if she would not run for re-election.

Leftwich is also facing felony charges.

Prosecutors say Terrill tried to create the job and lobbied for Leftwich to get the position.

In exchange, Leftwich would agree not to seek re-election for her seat in the state senate.

Debbe Leftwich

Debbe Leftwich

Terrill wanted his friend, Rep. Mike Christian, to run for state senate unopposed.

The governor at the time, Brad Henry, subsequently vetoed the bill that would have created the job.

More than a dozen current and former lawmakers are set to testify over the next several days.

Rep. Mike Christian, a Republican, testified on Wednesday that he considered running for Leftwich’s seat, but decided against it once the controversy arose.

Rep. Mike Christian, Courtesy OKHouse.gov

Rep. Mike Christian, Courtesy OKHouse.gov

Christian is not charged with a crime.

The bribery case has taken three years to get to trial, in part because prosecutors tried to add a conspiracy charge.

However, the Court of Criminal Appeals declined to allow that charge.

Terrill is expected to testify in his own defense.

If convicted, he could face up to two years in prison.

Both he and Leftwich are being tried separately.

Leftwich’s trial is set to begin in December.