Hearing For Blackmail and Computer Crimes

Ponca City Now - September 18, 2013 6:33 am

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – A hearing is scheduled in Oklahoma County District Court for the co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party on felony blackmail and computer crimes charges.

Wednesday’s hearing is for 55-year-old Al Gerhart of Oklahoma City. Gerhart was bound over for trial earlier this month by a judge who ruled there was probable cause Gerhart committed the crimes for sending an email to a state senator who testified that he felt threatened by the tone of the message.

Special Judge Susan Johnson rejected defense arguments that the email was political speech protected by the First Amendment.

Gerhart has acknowledged sending the email March 26. Among other things, the email demands the senator give a bill a committee hearing "or I will make sure you regret not doing it."

Gerhart pleaded not guilty.


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