Wednesday, February 17, 2010

RIP: Tim Pope

Let’s be fair to Tim Pope. Tim was indicted by the Multicounty Grand Jury on 12 felonies, including perjury, conspiracy, etc., etc., etc. The case ultimately proved an embarrassment to Edmondson. One of his witnesses would not cooperate, the second recklessly killed a mother of four and was charged with negligent homicide, and the third’s lawyer had written a wholly exculpatory letter before the investigation even started.

Ultimately, as Tim’s lawyer, I negotiated a resolution that all of the felony cases would be dismissed with cost paid by the State. In return, the State would file a single misdemeanor count to which Tim would make an Alford plea of "guilty," but would be placed on probation without conditions or supervision and that, too, would be dismissed. Tim died unconvicted of any crime.

He was an articulate, hard working, thorn-in-the side of the Democrats. In a day of self-important political consultants who charge outrageous fees, Tim was a winner of races on a local, district or county level. He successfully led Brent Rinehart to victory which caused an earthquake downtown at the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, and in the Sheriff’s office. Time has proven Rinehart was right on his complaints and criticism, even if his style was too populist for the "tall building" crowd.

Tim’s greatest achievement, possibly, came in 2006 when Republicans lost their shirt in the statewide races. Tim managed brillantly five campaigns and won all of them.

l. He was the campaign coordinator for Bill Graves who defeated incumbent District Judge Susan Caswell. What a breath of fresh air that was at the Oklahoma County Courthouse once Bill took the oath.

2. He successfully managed Randy Terrill’s reelection in Cleveland County.

3. He guided Anthony Sykes to a last-minute, sleeper, cliff-hanger victory and inched the Republicans forward to control of the State Senate. Tony was a public defender subject to a last-minute television smear by the Democrats because of his clients. All it took to turn that away was Anthony’s father, a victim of the Oklahoma City bombing, to appear on a television ad and tell voters he was proud of his son.

4. Tim led the campaign for Jason Murphrey of Guthrie on his second attempt for the legislature. He defeated an incumbent Republican whom many judged a RINO.

5. Finally, the greatest upset for all, Charles Key, after several unsuccessful efforts, managed to get back in the House of Representatives by defeating his well financed Republican primary opponent by 40 votes.

Tim hit five home runs.

For that, Edmondson filed a $10 million lawsuit against him alleging a new interpretation of "ROBO call" identification requirements heretofore unknown, later said he would take $100,000, then $10,000, and after Tim won an appeal on a technical basis and it was remanded, Tim settled for $4,500.

The Democrats tried every way they could to destroy Tim or silence him. Only God has silenced Tim Pope. He was a fearless champion who fought for what he believed in, and a devoted family man. He was a strong Republican. He did not trim his political views. He was my client for four years, and it was a joy to be around him. Tim could energize any room and come from behind in any political race.

One other note to remind Republicans. While Edmondson really prosecuted Tim, and all Republicans should remember that this year, he did it behind a fig leaf. He appointed Rob Hudson, the Republican, that’s right, Republican District Attorney of Logan County and Stillwater, to be the "special prosecutor." Hudson never showed up for any court appearances and never was involved in the case, but simply lent his name to the cruel and meritless effort. By selecting a Republican to lead the investigation, Edmondson could claim it was "bi-partisan."

In the final analysis, while Jim Roth probably had too much to carry to get elected to a full term on the Oklahoma Corporation Commission with President Obama at the top of the ticket, all you have to do is look at how Jim Roth ran in some rural precincts and counties along the Red River and the Arkansas border. Those Democrat county commissioners knew what Edmondson and Roth had done to Brent Rinehart, who may have been a pariah in Oklahoma County, but in the rural districts among the commissioners was viewed as a hero and a man who could not be broken. Brent may have been defeated, Tim may have stood in the shadow of the jail, but Jim Roth was defeated and the Republican control of the Corporation Commission continued.

Tim Pope was a political organization genius and a good man in every sense of the word. Not many people had the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the assault that he faced and ultimately prevailed.

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