- Associated Press - Thursday, December 22, 2016

MCALESTER, Okla. (AP) - A suspended Wagoner County sheriff charged with bribery and extortion is asking a judge to dismiss a grand jury’s decision to seek his removal from office.

The grand jury said Sheriff Bob Colbert and former Capt. Jeff Gragg released two motorists who were under arrest in exchange for the $10,000 seized during the December 2014 traffic stop.

A jury trial to determine whether Colbert should be removed is set for February, the Tulsa World (https://bit.ly/2hwcJI9) reported.

Wagoner County Assistant District Attorney Jack Thorp said the proceedings will be moot once Colbert’s term expires at the end of 2016, because Colbert did not run for re-election.

A hearing for Colbert’s criminal case is scheduled for next week.

Gragg pleaded guilty in September to an amended charge of willfully neglecting to perform his duty. Defense attorney Michon Hastings Hughes said the extortion count was dismissed, but the judge has not yet ruled on the counts related to county funds and alleged neglect of duty.

“We’re hoping to get dismissals here in this next week,” Hughes said. “It’s not clear how quickly the judge will rule. But he did not deny our motion, that’s for sure.”

Hughes filed a motion in October in response to what she claimed was an undercover deputy’s “misrepresentation” of the sheriff’s conduct. She said evaluation has shown Colbert was able to account for all county funds that his office had spent, including the more than $7,000 misused for self-promotion.

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Information from: Tulsa World, https://www.tulsaworld.com


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