Oklahoma County D.A. David Prater
Loses Another Major Case
Oklahoma County D.A. David Prater suffered another set back to his political agenda after being forced to dismiss charges against five major political figures inculding State School Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. The charges concerned the election for state school superintendent, allegations of dark money and collusion, yet the charges weren't filed for some time and many political insiders thought it was Prater just trying to influence the election.
Fount Holland, Stephanie Milligan, Steven Crawford, and Lela Odom were also charged. Prater had claimed that the five colluded to steer dark money into private independent PACs that were attacking opponents. Despite 2014 being the time of the alleged infractions the charges weren't filed until November of 20016 and the preliminary hearing wasn't set until August 16th of this year but Prater hadn't distributed any police or investigative reports to the defense attorneys, meaning they hadn't been able to look at the evidence and prepare their defense.
Prater dropped the charges on Tuesday, alluding to the possibility that the charges could be refiled in the future and alluding to "additional information" that had come to light in the past few months. However that would be a reason to postpone a preliminary hearing, not drop the charges. The reality is that Prater was simply attempting to save face with the general public as those in the know understand just what a stinging defeat this is to Prater.
Some political experts were calling out the problems with the charges right after they were filed. Proving collusion or coordination between candidates and independent expenditures can be difficult, so difficult that these charges were the first ever filed in the state of Oklahoma, the feds prosecuted its first case successfully in 2015. But as in the Sooner Tea Party "blackmail" case, Prater merely overlooked case law against his charges and plowed ahead believing that he could convince a jury of guilt as long as the judge remained silent and complacent on the law preventing such charges to be filed and prosecuted.
Of course the charges were filed a few days before the 2016 General Election and Prater has a history of charging candidates or saying he is investigating them right before elections. Stephanie Milligan could have been one of the reasons, hoping to embarrass Trump as Milligan had a spot on that election staff. There were some important state questions including a sales tax for teachers and the elite of the state prefer the tax money flows their way instead of going to pay teachers.
Then there is the recent very quiet dismissal or retirement of Gary Eastridge from the Oklahoma County District Attorneys Office....someone who has done a lot of the investigating on Prater's political cases. There is more than one set of rumors out there attempting to explain the sudden departure.
In the end Prater has done a lot of political damage to himself with the dismissal of these charges. With the defense attorneys complaining about the lack of action and withholding of evidence and information to seeing well known Democrat lawyer Mike Turpen lining up to oppose Prater on these charges, Prater did overreach massively. Charging the Democrat education/union officials and dragging American Fidelity's name through the mud did a lot of damage as well. Prater was also up against a wall because had the preliminary hearing judge dismissed the case Prater would have been wide open to malicious prosecution lawsuits from everyone involved and he would have had no protection from the County.
First the Pardon and Parole case, then the Sooner Tea Party "blackmail" case, and now five massively influential political figures have been vindicated. Prater is pretty much ruined in both the Democrat Party, the Republican Party, and even among the tall building crowd in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
No one backs a loser, no one.