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Did Oklahoma attorney general’s office mislead Supreme Court on execution issue?

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Allegations of possible wrongdoing surface against the Oklahoma attorney general's office.

According to nationally published reports, Scott Pruitt's office may have lied to the United States Supreme Court.

The controversy stems from the ongoing debate over the availability of certain drugs used for executions.

Pruitt has argued the state was forced to use the controversial drug midazolam because another execution drug called pentobarbital was no longer available.

To support that argument, the AG's office filed a brief with the Supreme Court, which included a heavily redacted letter from a pharmacy in Texas.

That pharmacy had manufactured pentobarbital for the state of Texas.

Pruitt's office allegedly misrepresented that the letter had been sent to Oklahoma.

An unredacted version of the letter shows that is not true.

The letter was clearly sent to officials with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and not to Oklahoma as the AG's office claimed.

We contacted Woodlands Compounding Pharmacy in Texas and asked to talk to the letters author Jasper Lovoi.

His attorney said without a doubt, they never sent the letter to Oklahoma.

"I'm not gonna say that the AG is misrepresenting anything, but my client sent no letters to any agency in the state of Oklahoma," said attorney Jeremy Finch.

In response, a spokesman for the Pruitt's office wrote, "As the Supreme Court is already aware, there was an inadvertent citation error in the state's brief. The citation error was noted in a brief to the court, and it was not an issue at oral argument. The district court's opinion contains the correct citation."

"Furthermore, as referenced by some justices during oral argument, it is well-known that the availability of drugs to carry out the death penalty have been made unavailable as the result of guerrilla tactics by anti-death penalty advocates."

"This should not be tolerated," said attorney Garvin Isaacs. "This is incomprehensible."

Attorney Garvin Isaacs says whatever the cause of the misleading paperwork, allegations of wrongdoing against the attorney general undermine public confidence in the legal system, and if proved intentional would violate the AG's oath of office.

"Nobody is above the law. Lawyers have a duty to be honest," said Isaacs.

The attorney for Richard Glossip, the next inmate set to be executed by the state, also sent an email stating he does not believe this was a simple citation error.

 

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