MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) -- Defense attorneys are trying to make a case that a powerful former state senator and his brother had a distant relationship when it came to business.
The testimony came during the federal trial of McAlester businessman Francis Stipe, 76, who is charged with conspiracy, mail fraud, paying a bribe and witness tampering, the same charges faced by his brother, 81-year-old former state Sen. Gene Stipe, who served 53 years in the state Legislature.
But Gene Stipe's indictment remains in limbo because U.S. District Judge Ronald White ruled him to be mentally incompetent in a related probation violation case.
Francis Stipe's son, Wayne Stipe, testified Thursday in defense of his father. He says Francis Stipe ended a business partnership with Gene Stipe in 1992 after Gene Stipe said hurtful things to his father.
Wayne Stipe says he has been an accountant for his father since 1974 and that his uncle thought the businesses owned by the Stipe brothers should be more successful.
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