Oklahoma AG drops bribery case against governor’s secretary

May 29, 2021 GMT

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma’s departing attorney general dropped a bribery case Friday against the governor’s cabinet secretary.

Attorney General Mike Hunter, whose last day in office is Tuesday, dropped the case against David Ostrowe, Gov. Kevin Stitt’s digital transformation and administration secretary. Hunter, whose assistants had obtained the indictment from a multicounty grand jury in December, said his office faced a potential conflict of interest in the prosecution.

Hunter’s resignation means Stitt would name his replacement, allowing the governor to put an ally in the post. Stitt and Hunter, although both Republicans, have occasionally clashed on various matters, including over Stitt’s decision to renegotiate the state’s gaming compacts with Native American tribes.

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The indictment accused Ostrowe of attempted bribery by pressuring two Oklahoma Tax Commission members to drop penalties and late fees owed by an ex-state lawmaker’s business. Ostrowe denied any wrongdoing but has been on leave from his position since the indictment. Hunter’s decision merely confirms Ostrowe’s insistence that he was innocent, said Mack Martin, his attorney.

Hunter announced his resignation Wednesday, saying some personal matters would become public that would become a distraction for the office. He recently filed for divorce against his wife of about 40 years.

In a statement, Stitt said he was “relieved to hear that the charges have been dropped against David Ostrowe and look forward to seeing the name and reputation of a good man and loyal public servant restored.”