KFOR news crew denied access to public hearing of former Oklahoma state senator


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A KFOR crew was denied access to the public hearing of former Senator Mike Morgan, who is hoping to get his law license reinstated after being convicted of program bribery in 2012. 

On Wednesday, a KFOR reporter and photographer were denied access to the second portion of a hearing of former Senate Pro Temp Mike Morgan, who was convicted of one count of program bribery in 2012. 

Our crew was allowed inside for the morning portion of the hearing. However after lunch, when they tried to return, they were told they could not come back inside. 

“I’m sorry we’re not going to be able to let you in because we’re trying to follow CDC guidelines and we’ve got so many people down there,” an employee told News 4’s Jessica Bruno. 

“But it’s a public hearing. So, you’ll have to provide some sort of stream then. The Supreme Court does that,” Bruno replied. 

“Would you like to talk to our general counsel?” the employee asked. 

“Yeah,” Bruno replied. 

Once general counsel came downstairs to meet our crew at the front door, she asked to not be recorded and proceeded to shut the door. 

“Is there a feed we can watch?” Bruno asked. 

“No. We’re not subject to the Open Meeting Act,” she replied, before locking our crew out of the building.  

News 4’s attorneys are looking into whether that is true. 

During the portion of the hearing our crew was able to observe, Morgan was appearing before the Professional Responsibility Tribunal, hoping to have his law license reinstated.

Back in 2012, Morgan was convicted of one count of program bribery to influence legislation he worked on while in the Senate. 

He allegedly accepted $12,000 in bribes. 

On Wednesday morning, the defense called several witnesses including numerous Payne County and Logan County judges and Payne and Logan County D.A. Laura Thomas. 

Each of them testified that Morgan is an honest, well-respected man and has shown remorse. 

Former Governor Brad Henry is expected to testify for the defense as well. 

Attorneys with the OBA argued Morgan has not shown remorse, mentioning an event at OU where he spoke and allegedly claimed he did nothing wrong. 

When News 4 was allowed inside the building in the morning, we were told the hearing could last for three days.

Late Wednesday afternoon, KFOR talked with Gina Hendricks, the General Counsel for the Oklahoma Bar Association.  She insists that no preferential treatment is being given to the former Senator.  She also told KFOR News that the decision to keep people out of the room for the afternoon session had everything to do with COVID safety protocols and that it wasn’t just News 4 that was barred from the afternoon session.  She says others were told to stay out as well.   She also told us she is working on making sure the press has some kind of access to the hearing tomorrow. 

  We’ll keep you posted.

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