The Friendly Market trial could affect glass pipes sales in Oklahoma

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NORMAN, Okla. -- The state has started calling witnesses in the trial of a Norman city councilman and business owner accused of drug crimes.

Norman city councilor Stephen Holman and store owner Robert Cox are both charged with a felony and several misdemeanors in connection with activity at their Norman store, The Friendly Market.

The trial is expected to last all week.

Prosecution witnesses include Norman police officers, who are set to testify against their own city councilor. Holman was just re-elected to Ward 7 with 79 percent of the vote.

He says the charges against him have made him even more popular with his constituents.

DKT Liberty Project, which was founded to promote individual liberty and stand up against government over-reach, has agreed to pay the legal fees for the defense team.

This is the third trial the state has put on against 'The Friendly Market' for selling glass pipes, which prosecutors call "drug paraphernalia."

Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn has already tried two workers accused of similar crimes, but the prosecution lost in court.

"The trial we're about to do for a week is a trial we've done two different times," said Blake Lynch, attorney for the defense. "Neither time they could get a conviction."

"I am so impressed with the jury system and realize that is the only thing holding back this incredible law enforcement power," said Cox. "Thank goodness for the jury system."

The state asked for a gag order last week to prevent pre-trial publicity, but a judge denied that request.

"We are literally David going up against Goliath, and that's a scary proposition no matter how right you are," said Brecken Wagner, attorney for the defense.

Prosecutors won't comment on the case until it's over.

They claim in court to have a mountain of evidence against the owner and the city councilor who managed 'The Friendly Market.' The business closed one year ago this week.

Experts say the court ruling could potentially affect as many as 100 businesses around Oklahoma.

Other Oklahoma law enforcement agencies are also watching this case to see if it could be another tool to shut down the sale of pipes in smoke shops across Oklahoma.


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