OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A former investigator for Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater has filed a notice of claim alleging that he was wrongfully terminated after refusing to continue an illegal criminal investigation run by Prater.
“This is basically a whistle blower complaint,” Robert Gifford, an attorney, told News 4.
Gifford filed the notice of claim in Oklahoma County on Thursday on behalf of his client, William Muller, a former investigator for Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater.
“It’s for, basically, an improper firing, and it arises, basically, from an illegal investigation,” Gifford said.
The claim alleges Muller refused to continue working on that investigation for Prater.
“Mr. Prater ordered my client to obtain a grand jury subpoena to obtain financial information through Paycom in regards to criminal justice reform,” Gifford said.
Muller claims, “Mr. Prater in his own words felt that any reform to criminal justice was ‘bull****,'” and that he was unlawfully seeking “incriminating or compromising” information about former speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, Kris Steele. The claim goes on to refer to Steele as “one of the most visible leaders of the criminal justice reform movement in Oklahoma.”
The claim also alleges Prater wanted to review donations from the ACLU to Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform.
“The investigation had no outside investigative agency. There was no case file,” Gifford said.
When Muller allegedly couldn’t find any wrongdoing in those grand jury documents, according to the claim, “Mr. Prater became irrational and angry upon learning about the outcomes” of Mr. Muller’s findings.
Muller claims that’s why he was fired.
“My client realized that basically there was no probable cause to begin this investigation, and before you can request this information, you have to have probable cause, and it appears this was Mr. Prater’s own personal investigation into what appears to be a political enemy,” Gifford said.
Prater released the following statement to News 4:
“These allegations are ridiculous. I am unable to respond due to legal restrictions on revealing why someone may have been terminated. There is a personal vendetta behind these allegations. This was carefully orchestrated to be released during a week, when I would be busy, in a courtroom, with a very important trial, doing the work the people of Oklahoma County elected me to do. Because of that important work, I`m unable to fully respond at this time.”
Kris Steele, chair of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, sent News 4 the following statement:
“I am reading the details of the claim for the first time. I intend to monitor the facts as they unfold in this pending action. Meanwhile I remain focused and committed on working with fellow Oklahomans to safely reduce our prison population, strengthen families and invest in alternatives to incarceration in our state.”