Oklahoma Ethics Commission finds embattled judge ‘in contempt’

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR/AP) – An Oklahoma County judge who is already facing charges for failing to pay state taxes has been found in contempt by a state committee for failing to turn over subpoenaed records.

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 evasionData pix., but her attorney told News 4 they were working with the IRS to pay any outstanding taxes.

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.

Earlier this month, the Oklahoma Supreme Court determined the allegations against Coleman didn’t warrant a trial to have her removed from the bench. However, the court admonished her for neglecting to pay 60 parking tickets and various tax obligations. It also reprimanded her for failing to properly file campaign reports.

Now, the Oklahoma Ethics Commission is speaking out on the case.

According to the Associated Press, the commission voted 3-0 last week to find Coleman in contempt for failing to turn over subpoenaed records.

On Wednesday, Coleman responded by filing a complaint with the Oklahoma Supreme Court. In the complaint, she says the agency must be more specific about the allegations against her and the campaign.

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