Texan sues to avoid arrest in Oklahoma grand jury investigation

Wednesday, November 24th 2004, 6:29 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A Texas man who was a no-show before an Oklahoma grand jury investigating former Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher has filed a lawsuit that claims he should not be arrested.

Ron Akin faces arrest for not appearing before a multicounty grand jury on Oct. 18. Akin, an associate of Dallas-based businessman Gene E. Phillips, contends there was no valid order requiring him to appear.

He wants a Texas judge to declare an arrest warrant ``unconstitutional and invalid.''

The grand jury is looking into Fisher's dealings with Phillips and his related businesses. The grand jury has accused Fisher of accepting bribes from Phillips, his family and business associates while insurance commissioner.

The alleged bribes included a $25,000 check from Davister Corp. Akin was an officer of that company.

Akin claims the grand jury's judge, Robert Simms, and two Oklahoma assistant attorneys general violated his civil rights in seeking his appearance and, now, his arrest.

He contends they are trying to force him to testify even though he has said he will invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

He also alleges Simms is biased against him. He quotes the judge as saying he has ``done a tap dance around appearing before the grand jury.''

Akin claims he has suffered extreme mental and emotional stress and ``has had his reputation damaged in the business community.''

Simms declined comment Tuesday. Attorney General Drew Edmondson said: ``This is a continuation of what is now a monthslong effort to avoid coming to Oklahoma to testify to the grand jury. We've seen every legal maneuver that could be made exercised to prevent that from happening. This is just the latest example.''

Fisher, 64, faces trial on eight felony charges, including bribery, embezzlement, tax evasion and perjury. He resigned on Sept. 24 after being impeached by the state House.

Fisher left office before a Senate trial on five articles of impeachment to devote time to his defense on criminal charges.