The Oklahoman is reporting today that charges against State Schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister and four other defendants have been dismissed.
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater on Tuesday dropped the felony case against all defendants “pending further investigation.”
DA Prater has often looked to political cases and select public issues to advance his visibility and name recognition – in this case, failing miserably.
The case significantly damaged the reputation of Oklahoma political operatives previously admired and several Conservative Republican consulting firms were forced to close.
Civil cases could now be considered against DA Prater some observers suggest. The question becomes how much more time and money would be necessary to recover damaged reputations? Only the District Attorney has taxpayer money to play with in court.
Hofmeister declared Tuesday “I knew I was innocent and that I had conducted myself appropriately, and I am happy that this day has come,” at a news conference where she smiled throughout according to The Oklahoman.
Hofmeister was accused in the criminal case of wrongdoing in her 2014 campaign. She and the other defendants were charged last November.
The dismissal comes just weeks before a preliminary hearing was set to begin to determine whether prosecutors had enough evidence for trial.
“Over the past couple of months, we’ve received additional information regarding one or more of the defendants that we need to follow up before we take it to preliminary hearing,” Prater told The Oklahoman.
Charged with her in the conspiracy counts were Fount Holland, 54, her chief campaign consultant, and Stephanie Dawn Milligan, 37, the political consultant for Oklahomans for Public School Excellence.
Also charged in the conspiracy counts were two former leaders of state education organizations — Lela Odom, 69, who in 2014 was the executive director of the Oklahoma Education Association, and Steven Crawford, 67, who was the executive director of the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration.