By DYLAN GOFORTH
The legal wrangling over the 6,647 authenticated signatures seeking a grand jury investigation of the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office will extend into next week, following an order signed Thursday by District Judge Rebecca Nightingale.
And that legal wrangling, in part, will be paid for by the very people seeking the investigation in the first place.
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Terry Simonson said on Wednesday that “office funds,” paid for by taxpayers, will be used to pay John Carwile, the attorney working on behalf of Glanz in the grand jury fight.
More than 8,900 taxpayers signed a petition seeking that grand jury investigation of the sheriff’s office, the election board authenticated 74 percent of those signatures.
Tulsa County Commissioners are expected to agree to the deal with McDonald, McCann, Metcalf and Carwile during Monday’s Board of County Commissioners meeting.
Last Tuesday, the Tulsa County Election Board submitted the signatures to the court clerk’s office, which in turn started a ticking clock in Nightingale’s office. Nightingale, the presiding judge in Tulsa County, had previously given We The People Oklahoma — the grassroots group behind the protests and grand jury petition — the go-ahead to begin collecting signatures seeking the investigation.
When the court clerk’s office received the 510 pages of signatures on Tuesday, that gave Nightingale 30 days to impanel a grand jury.
But the sheriff’s office had already planned a countermove, and the attorney representing them, John Carwile, filed a motion Wednesday to dismiss the signatures, saying they were collected on an unapproved form.
In May, when We The People began the petition process, they requested Nightingale look at their petition and documents ahead of time in order to avoid a mishap like happened in Rogers County in 2013. A judge there tossed out a grand jury petition there due to language in the document that had not been approved by a judge.
But on Wednesday, sheriff’s office spokesman Terry Simonson said TCSO’s position is that Nightingale never approved the signature form We The People used “for its properness, contents, and correctness.”
“The sheriff is neither afraid nor hesitant to appear before a properly called and legally empaneled grand jury,” Simonson said in a statement. “However, at this point, that has not occurred.”