- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Former Wagoner County Sheriff Bob Colbert is suing President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for slander over comments made during an online podcast in May.

On a Cato Institute podcast, Scott Pruitt, Trump’s EPA pick and Oklahoma’s attorney general, alleged that Colbert seized and kept $10,000, the Tulsa World (https://bit.ly/2lGpYfl ) reported.

“We had a Wagoner County sheriff that stopped someone in Wagoner County and took $10,000 in a seizure and put it in their pocket. And so I’m indicting that individual,” Pruitt said during the podcast.

In March, Colbert and Sheriff’s Office Capt. Jeff Gragg were indicted and accused of conspiring to elicit a bribe in exchange for not pursuing charges in December 2014. The indictment alleges that two people, who were arrested for possession of drug proceeds, were allowed by Colbert to be released and have their booking records erased in exchange for disclaiming their stake to the $10,000 found in their vehicle.

Now, Colbert is saying he was slandered by Pruitt.

The lawsuit filed by Colbert says Pruitt had received evidence that the $10,000 wasn’t “pocketed.” It also says Pruitt’s statement was “at least negligent or “made for political purposes.”

“The publication of the statement to the third party by Defendant Pruitt was made with actual malice - knowing that it was false or acting with reckless disregard for the statement’s truth or falsity,” the lawsuit contends.

An Attorney General’s Office spokesman declined the newspaper’s request for comment on the pending litigation.


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

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