Stipe Reports To Federal Prison For Mental Exam

Monday, September 10th 2007, 6:12 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Former state Sen. Gene Stipe was in custody Monday at a federal prison medical center in Missouri for a mental competency exam.

U.S. Attorney Sheldon Sperling in Muskogee said he was informed that ``the probationer (Stipe) reported and is presently in the custody of the Springfield Medical Center for Federal Prisoners.''

``Beyond that, I presume that officials who are charged with exercising the district court's well-reasoned order will do so,'' Sperling said.

Stipe was under a noon deadline to report to the hospital and arrived there about 10:20 a.m., Sperling said.

The evaluation could last for 30 days, but Stipe attorney Clark Brewster predicted Monday it would be ``a relatively short'' stay in Springfield for his client.

The 80-year-old Stipe was ordered to undergo a mental competency exam by federal Judge Ronald White during a probation revocation hearing on Aug. 28th.

White said he was concerned with Stipe's mental state after watching him in court. He said the defendant appeared to be drugged or hypnotized.

Stipe and his attorneys have said they expect the ex-senator to be found competent.

An appeals court in Denver first stayed the mental test, then ruled White had the prerogative to order it based on the judge's observations.

Brewster, attorney for Stipe, had argued his client's health could be jeopardized by the 250-mile trip from McAlester to Springfield.

``We sent some medical people with him to make sure he could make the transfer,'' Brewster said. ``They assisted him up there.''

Stipe is on probation for felony convictions linked to a campaign fraud scandal. He was sentenced in 2004 for using ``straw donors'' to exceed contribution limits in the 1998 congressional campaign of Walt Roberts.

Straw donors are fake contributors who use someone else's money to make donations, thereby skirting election laws.

Federal prosecutors say Stipe's probation should be revoked on grounds he engaged in a similar finance campaign last year.

They also Stipe has broken his probation by associating with convicted felony Steve Covington, longtime friend and care giver.

Related stories:

3/7/2007 FBI Searches Offices Of Gene Stipe

3/9/2007 Stipe Investigated In Alleged 'Straw Donor' Scheme

3/14/2007 Grand Jury Looking Into Gene Stipe's Finances

3/21/2007 Stipe Business Will Be Run By A Neutral Party

4/1/2003 Former State Senator Gene Stipe Pleads 'Guilty' In Federal Court

4/8/2007 State Charges Possible In Alleged Campaign Scheme

4/18/2007 Jurisdiction Of Stipe Case Transferred To Muskogee

4/23/2007 Newspaper Says Gene Stipe Benefits From Train Sale To State

6/7/2007 Government Seeks Probation Revocation For Stipe

6/13/2007 Former City Manager Expected Before Stipe Grand Jury

6/23/2007 Attorney: Stipe's Business Partner To Plead Guilty To Conspiracy

6/27/2007 Ex-Stipe Business Partner Pleads Guilty

6/28/2007 Gene Stipe Stays Out Of Prison For Now

8/27/2007 Gene Stipe Due In Court Tuesday

8/28/2007 Mental Health Test Ordered For Gene Stipe

9/4/2007 Attorneys Seek To Divert Stipe From Springfield

9/6/2007 Stipe Won't Have To Go Immediately To Federal Medical Unit

9/7/2007 Stipe Heading To Missouri Prison Hospital

9/9/2007 - Stipe Says He Is Competent On Eve Of Prison Examination