State watching Bernard Ebbers prosecution

Tuesday, March 8th 2005, 9:51 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson says he would offer former WorldCom chief Bernie Ebbers a plea deal -- if Ebbers is convicted and gets a stiff sentence on federal fraud charges.

Jurors in Ebbers federal trial are deliberating whether he's guilty of orchestrating the $11-billion accounting fraud that led to the company's collapse.

Edmondson filed state charges of fraud in 2003 against charged Ebbers, WorldCom and five former executives. Edmondson later agreed to delay the state charges until after the federal trial.

The attorney general says he would offer Ebbers a plea deal if he's convicted and given a stiff sentence, such as 25-years as recommended by sentencing guidelines.

Edmondson says if Ebbers is found innocent or gets a light sentence, he'll consider refiling the state charges.