Convicted Tulsa police officer should answer for false testimony, prosecutor says
BY JARREL WADE World Staff Writer
Friday, July 20, 2012
The federal prosecutor who led the prosecution of Tulsa police officers last year has asked a judge to order Jeff Henderson, a now-convicted former officer, to explain the erroneous testimony he gave in federal court last month — possibly subjecting Henderson to additional jail time.
Jane Duke, first assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, made the request Friday after dismissing the government’s case against Tony Becknell Jr.
If U.S. District Judge James Payne issues the order Duke requested, Henderson will have to appear in court again and could be subject to additional jail time or a fine for contempt of court, Duke said.
Henderson was convicted last year on six counts of perjury and two counts of civil rights violations. He is serving a 42-month sentence at a South Dakota federal prison but was brought to Tulsa to testify in Becknell’s case last month.
Henderson has remained in the Tulsa Jail since then.
In his testimony on June 29, he identified a person whose information he said he used to obtain a search warrant in connection with Becknell’s arrest in March 2005.
Henderson testified that he never documented the informant, but “I’m just letting you know it’s a fact,” he said.
“I used him on more than six” investigations, he said. “He was a reliable confidential informant.”
The World is withholding the name of the alleged informant out of concern for his safety.
An investigation by Becknell’s attorney, Paul DeMuro, found that the man named by Henderson was in jail for several months before and after March 2005, when Henderson said he provided information by phone and in person in Henderson’s car.
The man who records show was in jail at the time matches Henderson’s description of his alleged informant by name, body type, age, 2005 address, 2005 gang affiliation and nickname, as well as other details, according to DeMuro’s affidavit detailing his investigation.
Henderson’s June 29 testimony was given under government immunity, but the immunity does not apply to perjury, Duke said.
“There was no uncertainty,” Duke said about Henderson’s testimony. “There was no equivocation.”
If Henderson’s explanation for his testimony does not satisfy the judge, he could be held in contempt of court for perjury or for not complying with the judge’s order to be truthful in his testimony, Duke said.
According to a memo filed in Becknell’s case, government prosecutors interviewed Henderson after his testimony.
“Henderson said that since he learned that (the informant) was incarcerated at the time, he was wrong, but he could not remember who the informant might have been,” according to the government memo.
In the memo, Henderson further told government prosecutors he did not have enough time in court to recall the case before he made his statements about the informant.