Friday, June 13, 2008

Charges Dismissed Against Former Wagoner County DA

Former Wagoner County District Attorney Richard Gray was cleared of embezzlement charges this week by an Okmulgee County court. Judge Michael Claver granted a mistrial over problems with the chain of evidence for key exhibits. The charges were dismissed with prejudice and cannot be refiled.

In a copyrighted story in the Tulsa World (link HERE), Gray's attorney, Clark Brewster said, " "I've never seen a case so bad as this one. It was completely frivolous. This man went through a tremendous amount of character attacks."

In that same story Gray said, "
"I'm extremely excited about the verdict," he said. "The only thing that upset me was I wasn't given an opportunity to prove how corrupt the investigation" by the Attorney General's Office was. Gray (also) said his defense would have pointed to others' guilt and shown a connection to law enforcement.

However the Muskogee Phoenix was not so kind. In a copyrighted story titled "Not Office Material," The Phoenix led with this broadside, "
Richard Gray’s embezzlement case may have been dismissed, but that doesn’t make Gray qualified for office," and continued "However, one thing is clear — if Gray runs for office again, which he said he might, voters ought to remember not the dismissed charges, but his record." (Link to story HERE.)

Apparently not satisfied with the hell this man and his family have already been through, the Phoenix obviously wants to drive a stake through the heart of Gray's career should he dare to try to return to public life. I guess The Phoenix expected him to slink out of town in disgrace and take a job as night janitor someplace far away.

I don't know what happened in the Wagoner County DA's office and I don't think The Muskogee Phoenix does either. Things happen in a court house that civilians will never understand. But, I do know the judge who dismissed Gray's case, Michael Claver. He is an ex-cop and an ex-ADA. He has a reputation for being a law and order judge that is tough on drug defendants. Claver said that this was the first time he had ever taken a case away from a jury but felt sure that they would have reached the same conclusion given the evidence presented.

In this case, Gray has been cleared in a court of law and deserves the right to get on with his life without mean spirited, partisan sniping by the region's most influential newspaper.


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