Jury Seated, Opening Arguments Underway In Tulsa Police Corruption Trial

Tuesday, May 31st 2011, 8:03 am
By: News On 6

Lori Fullbright, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Two current and one retired Tulsa police officer were on trial Tuesday. It's the first of two trials accusing cops of corruption.

A jury was picked and attorneys gave opening statements Tuesday afternoon.

3/30/2011 Related Story: Tulsa Police Officers To Face Conspiracy Trial

Officers Nick DeBruin and Bruce Bonham and retired officer Harold Wells are on trial. The three men are accused of conspiring to steal money, plant drugs on suspects and allowing a drug dealer to sell drugs in Tulsa. They all say they are innocent.

Jane Duke, a federal prosecutor from Arkansas is in charge of this case and Judge Bruce Black from New Mexico is presiding over it.

Records show former Tulsa officers are expected to testify against Harold Wells, Bruce Bonham and Nick DeBruin, that they planted drugs on people in order to arrest them and get convictions.

Prosecutors also plan to show a surveillance video that claims the three stole money during an FBI sting in May of 2009 at a Super 8 motel in Tulsa.

Defense attorneys for the three men say this case is based on some witnesses who are not very reliable because many are either cops who've already admitted they're dirty or have been given immunity for their crimes or are drug dealers.

Defense attorneys want to bring in character witnesses for the three men accused, but, the judge said they could have only one each.

Defense attorneys say they have dozens of people who will testify they never saw Wells, Bonham or DeBruin do anything illegal.

Bonham faces five counts and is suspended without pay. DeBruin faces six counts and is also suspended without pay. Wells faces 10 counts and retired last year.

Two other officers, Jeff Henderson and Bill Yelton were also indicted by the federal grand jury.  They go to trial in July.