Ex-inmate asks to see filing in perjury matter
BY JARREL WADE World Staff Writer
Saturday, October 06, 2012
10/06/12 at 6:27 AM
See the court filing: Read Tony Becknell Jr.’s motion seeking to have documents about former Officer Jeff Henderson’s alleged perjury unsealed.
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police corruption: Read all of the stories, view a timeline and read key documents.
The attorney for a man who was freed from prison in July because of police corruption in his 2005 case has asked a judge to make public a convicted officer's explanation for the officer's alleged perjury.
The perjury allegations arose this summer after Jeff Henderson, a former Tulsa police officer, testified as to the name of a previously unidentified informant he said he had used in the investigation that led to a prison sentence for Tony Becknell Jr.
Evidence later showed that the person Henderson identified as the informant could not have been a part of the investigation because he was in the Tulsa Jail during the time period in which Henderson said he met with the man.
Henderson filed an explanation for his identification of the man under seal last month in federal court for the Northern District of Oklahoma.
A document filed under seal is not open to the public. However, a judge may order the document unsealed, thereby making it public record, if appropriate.
Becknell's motion, filed Friday by attorney Paul DeMuro, asks that a judge unseal Henderson's filing, saying the public's interest in the information substantially outweighs Henderson's effort to keep it private within the court.
Also, Becknell's motion argues that Becknell has a right to know the explanation for alleged perjury in his case after spending more than seven years in prison.
The government's deadline for filing a response to Henderson's explanation was due by Friday night. However, an electronic copy of the motion, if filed in accordance with the deadline, could not be obtained by the World before press time.
According to Becknell's motion, government prosecutors have not communicated their position on whether to support unsealing the documents.
In his testimony June 29 in Becknell's petition for release, Henderson testified that he never documented the informant he used but added that "I'm just letting you know it's a fact."
"I used him on more than six" investigations, he said. "He was a reliable confidential informant."
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.
Henderson told the prosecutors that he didn't have enough time in court to recall the case before he made his statements about the alleged informant, according to the memo.
Becknell is one of at least 45 people who have been freed from prison or had their cases modified as a result of the police corruption probe.
Henderson was convicted last year on six counts of perjury and two counts of civil rights violations for his role in the police corruption case. He is serving a 42-month sentence and is assigned to a federal prison in South Dakota but is now in the Tulsa Jail due to his role in the Becknell case.
Prosecutors are seeking additional penalties against Henderson on the new perjury allegations. The judge can rule after reviewing Henderson's sealed response, possibly resulting in more jail time or a fine.
Jarrel Wade 918-581-8367
Jeff Henderson: The former Tulsa police officer testified this summer as to the name of a previously unidentified informant he said he had used in the investigation that led to a prison sentence for Tony Becknell Jr. Evidence later showed that the person Henderson identified as the informant could not have been a part of the investigation because he was in jail