Prelim Begins For County Commissioner And Former State Rep

Wednesday, September 19th 2007, 3:35 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A preliminary hearing for a county commissioner, a former state representative and a political donor accused of breaking campaign finance laws was rescheduled Wednesday after defense attorneys claimed they didn't receive all the investigative reports from prosecutors.

Oklahoma County Commissioner Brent Rinehart, 43, his former campaign manager Tim Pope, 49, and donor Walter Pelfrey, 67, appeared before Oklahoma County District Judge James Paddleford. All three men have been charged with money laundering, conspiracy and violating state campaign finance laws. Pope, a former state representative, and Rinehart also are charged with several counts of perjury.

The charges stem from an alleged scheme to funnel money into Rinehart's 2004 campaign for county commissioner.

The preliminary hearing now is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Oct. 26.

Rinehart and Pope, both Republicans, have denied wrongdoing and claim the charges are politically motivated. The charges resulted from a multicounty grand jury overseen by the office of Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson, a Democrat.

During Wednesday's hearing, Rinehart's attorney Merle Gile told Paddleford he had not received all of the law enforcement investigative reports assembled by prosecutors.

Prosecutors contend they disclosed all relevant information to the defense in June and that the only information not provided to the defense were investigative reports not connected to the case.

``Out of an abundance of caution, what we are now in the process of doing is comparing the documents that were provided to the defendant to the documents that are in the state's possession in order to assure the court that full disclosure has been made,'' Assistant Attorney General Joel-lyn McCormick said after the hearing.