Former Lincoln County judge sentenced for embezzling from clients

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LINCOLN COUNTY, Okla. – A well-known former district judge was sentenced to five years in jail after pleading guilty to embezzlement charges and stealing a trailer of cattle.

Craig Key was indicted in 2013 by the state’s Multicounty Grand Jury for stealing cattle and a trailer, along with embezzling thousands of dollars from injured clients.

Key worked as an attorney before surrendering his law license.

Key pleaded guilty to 24 counts and received five years in jail, followed by five years probation. He was also ordered to pay $527,000 in restitution to his victims.

His name is familiar to a lot of Oklahomans.

Years prior to the crime, Key was criticized for his role in a high-profile custody case in Lincoln County.

When he was a judge, he returned 2-year-old Kelsey Smith-Briggs to her biological mother, Raye Dawn Smith, even after the toddler suffered broken bones and other injuries in her care.

Four months later, the child died and Smith was convicted of enabling child abuse.

Briggs’ stepfather was also sent to prison in connection with her death.

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