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Oklahoma prosecutor seeks expanded probe over text messages

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater says he’s asked state investigators to expand their criminal probe surrounding the former top attorney for the Health Department who wrote the state’s new medical marijuana rules.

Prater confirmed late Thursday he learned of a text exchange between attorney Julia Ezell and the State Board of Pharmacy’s Executive Director Chelsea Church. In the exchange, Church appears to offer Ezell a job at the agency in return for favorable rules on medical marijuana.

The text exchange was first reported by the online news publication NonDoc, and Prater says he has no reason to doubt its authenticity.

Church didn't immediately return a phone call, but Ezell's attorney Ed Blau confirmed the texts were authentic.

Ezell was charged Tuesday with sending threatening emails and lying to authorities.