Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

7 Charges against Powers Dismissed

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

7 Charges against Powers Dismissed

Article excerpt

Cleveland County District Judge Mike McDanel dismissed seven of the 13 felony counts facing Norman real estate developer Patrick E. Powers Jr., as his trial on securities fraud and embezzlement charges finished its first day Wednesday in Norman.

Ruling from his chambers before jury selection began, McDanel dismissed two embezzlement charges, two non-disclosure charges and two securities fraud charges facing Powers.

Those charges stem from the collapse of Norman-based Pepco Inc., which Powers headed as president until the firm, which developed real estate and sold limited partnerships to fund the developments, collapsed in 1985.

The charges were dropped, according to the attorneys involved, because of statute of limitation questions and other questions involving possible double jeopardy problems, as Powers is, or was, accused in four separate counts of embezzling the same check.

Susan Bryant, administrator of the Oklahoma Securities Commission, the state agency that brought the charges against Powers, said they may appeal the decision to drop the charges because she felt the statute of limitations had not run in this case.

"This is something we've run up against before," Bryant said later. "We may appeal because we lost this time" and, she added, the commission may want to settle the issue once and for all because there appears to be confusion about certain statutes of limitation involving securities cases.

In addition to dropping the seven counts, McDanel empaneled an eight-man, four-woman jury, during selection proceedings that lasted the entire day.

Each side, with Powers being represented by Oklahoma City attorney John Montazzoli, was given unlimited juror challenges for cause and another five preemptory challenges, meaning they could dismiss any five jurors for almost any reason. …

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