Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Walters' Witnesses Allowed to Testify

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Walters' Witnesses Allowed to Testify

Article excerpt

Associated Press

Witnesses will begin telling Gov. David Walters' side of the controversy over his 1990 campaign financing under a ruling issued Tuesday by the judge presiding over a multicounty grand jury.

In other developments: Former Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Robin Smith pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor campaign violation after a sealed indictment was opened in Oklahoma County District Court. An attorney for Kingfisher businessman Lenard Briscoe said he had been advised by prosecutors in the campaign case that his client would be indicted on a felony charge.

Judge Donald Powers granted a request by Walters' attorney Tom Seymour that the governor's witnesses be allowed to appear before the grand jury.

Seymour accused prosecutors of "hiding the truth" from grand jurors, and said testimony will show Walters has done nothing that would warrant an indictment.

He said Walters had a problem with campaign laws in 1986 and was not dumb enough to take part in illegal campaign activities.

"The governor did not know these things were going on. . .if he did he would have put a stop to it," Seymour said.

The Tulsa attorney said he did not know whether Walters would testify himself, despite a letter in which Walters picked Aug. 31 as the best time on his schedule for a volunteer appearance.

Seymour released a copy of the letter and said it contained certain stipulations for an appearance by Walters.

The grand jury investigating Walters' 1990 campaign has issued 14 indictments, including the previously sealed indictment of Smith.

Three indictments remained sealed.

Smith pleaded guilty to violating a state law forbidding Highway Patrol personnel from donating to political campaigns.

Smith appeared before Special Judge Russell Hall, who gave him a two-year deferred sentence and ordered him to pay $500 to the court fund and $300 to the victims compensation assessment fund.

In published reports, Smith has accused the governor of taking part in discussions in which he was promised the post of public safety commissioner in return for a contribution. …

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