Okla. tea party leaders say it’s unharmed by trial

Ponca City Now - May 11, 2014 7:50 am

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – The conviction of a tea party leader on felony blackmail and computer crimes charges has brought unwanted attention to the conservative political movement. But other tea party leaders in Oklahoma say it has not diminished its message of limited government and lower taxes.

Oklahoma County jurors convicted Sooner tea party co-founder Al Gerhart last week. Prosecutors say Gerhart sent a politically charged email to a state senator who testified that he felt threatened by the email’s tone.

Other tea party leaders say Gerhart’s conviction reflects the methods of just one man, not the message of the movement he claims to represent.

Gerhart says he will appeal the conviction and defends his practice of "confrontational politics" and believes the First Amendment guarantees his right to make demands of politicians.

 

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