The Edmond Sun

January 8, 2013

Ex-Okla. Senate leader receives 5 years probation

The Edmond Sun

OKLAHOMA CITY — U.S. District Judge Robin J. Cauthron Tuesday sentenced former Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tem Mike Morgan, 57, to serve five years’ probation for bribery.

In addition to serving five years of probation, Morgan was ordered to forfeit $12,000. Sanford C. Coats, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma, said the sentencing was part of one of the most significant public corruption cases in this district in decades.

“While this was not the sentence for which we advocated, the determination of sentencing in federal court is within the discretion of the Judge,” Coats said. “Both the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI remain committed as ever to the pursuit of public corruption cases and holding accountable any public officials who abuse their positions for personal gain.”

Coats commended the assistant U.S. attorneys and FBI special agents for their extraordinary work in this long and complex investigation and prosecution.

The government alleged three different schemes.

On March 5, 2012, the federal jury found Morgan guilty of bribery on one scheme, acquitted him on one scheme, and could not reach a unanimous verdict on a third scheme.

According to evidence at trial on the scheme in which he was convicted Morgan, an attorney, accepted payments from a business that owned assisted-living centers, disguised as legal fees, in exchange for favorable treatment in the Legislature.

Evidence at trial showed that Morgan took 12 $1,000 bribe payments disguised as legal fees in 2006 and 2007 from Silver Oak Senior Living Center. Evidence showed that Silver Oak had been at odds with the Oklahoma Department of Health, which was attempting to impose regulations on assisted-living facilities.  

In exchange for the bribe payments, evidence showed that Morgan authored Senate Bill 738, which became law at the end of the 2007 session and helped Silver Oak by lifting some of its regulatory burdens.