Multi-county grand jury investigations renewed

Tuesday, October 25th 2005, 5:25 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A multi-county grand jury that is believed to be continuing an investigation of activities involving Carroll Fisher, the impeached state insurance commissioner, resumed its work on Tuesday.

The grand jury, the sixth under Attorney General Drew Edmondson, had been in recess. It originally convened in April for an 18-month term, despite efforts to block an aspect of the investigation by attorneys for Texas businessman Gene Phillips.

A 43-page motion filed with the Oklahoma Supreme Court said Phillips "may be a target" of the latest investigation. The motion, which was rejected by the court, questioned the fairness of the multi-county grand jury process.

Fisher, who resigned after being impeached by the Oklahoma House, is scheduled to go on trial on Feb. 6 on a wide range of felony charges, including bribery and putting a campaign donation into his personal bank account.

The previous grand jury, which adjourned last February, said Fisher accepted bribes from Phillips, his family and business associates while insurance commissioner.

In September 1999 Fisher personally approved the sale of Tulsa's American Reserve Life Insurance Co. to a Phillips-related company, authorities said.

The grand jury returned eight indictments naming three defendants on 11 separate counts in its investigation of Fisher.

Besides Fisher, indictments were issued naming former assistant Opal Ellis and the Fisher Foundation Inc.