Former lawmaker asks to delay bribery trial because of ‘publicity’
OKLAHOMA CITY – After claiming she couldn’t get a fair trial because of publicity surrounding her case, a judge has denied a former state senator’s request to delay her trial.
Prosecutors say Debbe Leftwich worked with former Oklahoma State Rep. Randy Terrill to try and accept a high paying state job in exchange for Leftwich not seeking re-election.
Last month, a jury convicted Terrill of bribery and recommended he serve one year behind bars.
Leftwich’s attorney argues that the publicity surrounding Terrill’s trial and conviction tainted the public’s perception and makes it hard for Leftwich to field a panel of fair and impartial jurors.
Leftwich’s attorney asked for a 90 day delay in the trial.
For their part, prosecutors opposed any delay in Leftwich’s trial, pointing out it’s been three years since the charges were first filed.
In the end, the judge disagreed and ruled the trial will go ahead as scheduled next month.
Leftwich is accused of accepting Terrill’s bribe of an $80,000-a-year job at the state medical examiner’s office, in return for her not seeking re-election to her seat in the state senate.
The defense argues Leftwich never planned to seek re-election and the medical examiner job never was created, negating any alleged bribery.
Despite the judge’s ruling and Terrill’s guilty verdict, the defense maintains Leftwich will be cleared of any wrongdoing.
Robert McCampbell, Leftwich’s attorney, said, “We look forward to trial and the evidence will show it’s much different for Debbe Leftwich than it was for Randy Terrill. We’re gonna ask jurors for a fair trial.”
The judge did make one concession.
She delayed Terrill’s sentencing until after Leftwich’s trial.
That trial is set to begin the second week of December.