Oklahoma County D.A. David Prater Embroiled in a Major Scandal
Fox 25 is one of the few media outlets with the courage to go after public officials and they have been all over Oklahoma County D.A. David Prater over the emerging scandal over the Daniel Holtzclaw trial. Fox 25 obtained emails between Prater's office and the OKC crime lab over the secret hearings in the criminal appeal case. They also obtained the surveillance video showing high raking police and lab personnel involved in the two day hearing. That hearing was so confidential that even the Holtzclaw defense team were not allowed to attend. We found that astounding, locking out one set of attorneys in a court case has to be unprecedented.
Police officials and Prater's office are desperate to spike the scandal, releasing about one third of the emails that turned up in the Open Records request and even the deletion of emails belonging to the former OKC PD DNA expert. Independent experts have identified mistakes in the testimony of this OKC PD DNA expert and said she was testifying outside the bounds of science. On May 9th 20017 Prater sent out a mass email to his prosecutors asking if they had pending cases where Elaine Taylor, the former OKC PD DNA expert was involved and admitted that several cases had been compromised after concerns in the Holtzclaw case came out.
As it turns out unknown male DNA had turned up in the Holtzclaw samples and Prater had not disclosed that to the Holtzclaw defense team nor was the issue of very small DNA samples involved in the evidence being nearly worthless as evidence.
Prater continues to deny that there are concerns, claiming the former DNA expert's work product or her testimony aren't at issue. Prater claimed that the retesting was needed after the expert retired. Attorney General Mike Hunter entered the fray, backing up Prater by asking the court to hide the court case from public view. Even the wording of the court order that placed a seal of secrecy on the case has been declared secret. For its part the City of Oklahoma City has deleted ALL of the former DNA experts emails despite state law for records retention.
The judge in the case has issued a decision, which itself is sealed, and the A.G. Office is asking for continued secrecy. The Holtzclaw defense team continues to be as locked out as the rest of us.