Oklahoma AG apologizes for cabinet secretary’s indictment

The Associated Press - February 3, 2023 10:25 am

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma’s new attorney general has apologized to one of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s former cabinet secretaries for his criminal indictment in 2020 by a previous attorney general, saying he believes the secretary “committed no wrongdoing.”

Attorney General Gentner Drummond sent the letter on Wednesday to David Ostrowe, Stitt’s former secretary of digital transformation and technology. In it, he wrote that former Attorney General Mike Hunter failed to avoid the appearance of impropriety and should have disqualified himself from involvement in the investigation.

“I sincerely apologize to you on behalf of the State of Oklahoma,” Drummond wrote. “Further, I have instructed my office to convert the dismissal of this matter into a dismissal with prejudice.”

A dismissal with prejudice means a permanent dismissal of a case that will not be refiled against the defendant on the same grounds.

Ostrowe’s attorney, Matthew Felty, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ostrowe was indicted by the state’s multicounty grand jury in late 2020, accused of threatening to withhold state appropriations to the Oklahoma Tax Commission if they did not waive interest and tax penalties levied against a company owned by a former state senator. Ostrowe denied wrongdoing and alleged the charge was filed by Hunter to settle a political score.

Hunter dropped the charge against Ostrowe when he resigned in 2021.

Ostrowe is currently suing Hunter and the Oklahoma Tax Commission in district court, alleging he was maliciously indicted. That case is pending.

Hunter’s attorney, Robert Nance, declined to comment on Drummond’s letter or the lawsuit against Hunter, citing “other matters pending.”

 

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