OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An embattled Oklahoma County district judge is now asking to have the Oklahoma County district attorney removed from her criminal case.
In September, it came to light that Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater was demanding that Oklahoma County District Judge Kendra Coleman step back from ruling on criminal cases.
According to a motion filed by Prater, he claimed that Coleman “intentionally violated” ethics rules by failing to report final campaign contributions.
However, Coleman’s attorney said it was a simple mistake because reporting campaign finances can be complex.
“Especially for first-time candidates, and people make mistakes. They get behind, but it doesn’t mean that they’re hiding anything,” Geoffrey Long, Coleman’s campaign finance attorney, told News 4.
Prater disagrees, saying she has “actively concealed the sources of contributions” and alleges that she is “bent on returning campaign favors” for defendants represented by campaign donors.
In September, Coleman was indicted by a multicounty grand jury for failing to file her income tax returns from 2015 through 2018. Officials allege that she owes tens of thousands of dollars in delinquent taxes.
In October, she was charged with felony tax evasion, but her attorney told News 4 they were working with the IRS to pay any outstanding taxes.
In a twist, newly filed court documents claim that Coleman’s attorney is seeking to have Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater removed from the case.
According to court documents obtained by News 4, Coleman’s attorney is asking the court to either grant her demurrer to the case or disqualify Prater.
In the documents, the attorney cites Prater’s actions while attempting to have Coleman removed from criminal cases earlier this year.
“When the Defendant refused the Prosecutor’s demand for recusal, personal threats were made by Mr. Prater towards the Defendant, a ‘purported’ criminal investigation allegedly ensued, and judicial complaints and criminal filings ensued by the Prosecutor,” the documents state.
In the documents, defense attorneys argue that information provided to the grand jury was misleading since Coleman had already filed her tax returns for the years in question.
“The Prosecutor owes a duty of candor to the tribunal and cannot offer untruthful testimony nor allow such testimony to stand without rectification,” the documents state. “The Rule does not turn on whether the attorney offered the evidence; rather the Rule is designed to assure candor to the tribunal regardless of who offered the criminal or fraudulent testimony. The Prosecutor remains silent on how the falsity of the indictment occurred. Such a failure undermines the structural integrity of this case sufficiently to warrant the Prosecutor’s disqualification.”
The court documents include an affidavit from an accounting firm, saying their accountants filed an extension on Coleman’s income taxes for the years in question.
According to a previously filed probable cause affidavit, investigators say Coleman did appear to file extensions for her taxes but did not “pay the taxes she owed to the Oklahoma Tax Commission.”
Defense attorneys are seeking to have those tax evasion charges dismissed.
“The Defendant filed her taxes for the tax year 2017; and (2) made payments for taxes owed for the tax year 2017. How can anyone possibly be guilty of feloniously refusing to file a tax return with the intent to evade payment when that person has both filed her tax return and made payments for that tax year prior to being charged by information? This does not constitute a public offense,” the documents state.