Former Insurance Commissioner Loses Appeal

Friday, September 7th 2007, 6:15 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Former Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher faced three years in prison Friday after he lost his appeal on a conviction for perjury and embezzlement.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals ruled unanimously in upholding Fisher's conviction in 2006 by a jury in Oklahoma County.

Presiding Judge Jerry L. Lumpkin wrote that evidence was sufficient to prove the crimes Fisher was accused of committing.

Lumpkin found no merit to several issues raised by Fisher's attorney, including a claim that the trial judge showed bias by sighing or making ``grimacing expressions'' when the defense raised objections or asked to approach the bench.

Charlie Price, spokesman for Attorney General Drew Edmondson, said the Oklahoma County sheriff was being informed of the ruling so he can ``do his duty and take Mr. Fisher into custody.''

``Mr. Fisher is obviously disappointed by the decision of the appellate court,'' said Bob Wyatt, attorney for the ex-state official. ``We will timely address any remaining issues regarding Mr. Fisher's appeal in the case and continue to address the issues pressing in the remaining cases (against Fisher).''

The 2006 conviction came two years after Fisher resigned from office after being impeached by the Oklahoma House.

He was sentenced to two years in prison on the perjury count and one year for embezzlement and fined $20,000.

Fisher, 67, has been on House arrest in Tulsa. He still faces trial on four other felony counts, including tax evasion and bribery. The tax evasion case was moved to Tulsa from Oklahoma County last year.

Fisher was insurance commissioner for almost six years.

He was convicted of perjury and embezzlement for depositing a $1,000 campaign check in 2003 into his overdrawn bank account and not disclosing the transaction on campaign finance reports.

Fisher had argued that he planned to use the money to ``test the waters'' for a 2004 U.S. Senate campaign.

Fisher resigned in 2004 shortly before he was to face an ouster trial in the state Senate on five articles of impeachment approved by the House that accused him of incompetence, neglect of duty and corruption.

The cases against Fisher stemmed from an investigation by the state's multicounty grand jury, which is overseen by Edmondson's office.

``We are pleased the court has denied this appeal,'' Edmondson said. ``The conviction and sentence have been upheld. We will continue to prepare for trial on the remaining charges.''