Gene Stipe lodges criminal libel claim


Wednesday, August 17th 2005, 1:03 pm
By: News On 6


McALESTER, Okla. (AP) -- Former state Sen. Gene Stipe has filed a complaint with police alleging he was libeled on an Internet Web site by former mayoral candidate Harold King.

McAlester Police Det. Capt. Darrell Miller said the allegations in the complaint are being investigated.

Stipe said he objects to things King has said on the Web site regarding Stipe and Stipe's family.

"I just want it stopped," Stipe said. "I want it to be corrected. I want him to be punished for it."

King said he hasn't been contacted by Stipe.

"I've never received any direct communication from him," King said. "I'm not aware of anything I've done or said that hasn't been truthful."

King operates a Web site called the McAlester Watercooler-- http://mccooler.net/

King said the Watercooler is intended as an opinion page.

Oklahoma's criminal libel law carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

Stipe was the longest-serving lawmaker in state history when he resigned from the Senate in 2003 and pleaded guilty in Washington to two felony counts and one misdemeanor in connection with his schemes to funnel money illegally into a 1998 congressional race and then cover up the financing.