Jeff Henderson perjury case in hands of federal judge
BY JARREL WADE World Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
12/19/12 at 4:46 AM
Grand jury investigates police corruption: Read all of the stories, view a timeline and read key documents.
Closing arguments are in, and now the case involving new accusations of perjury against a former Tulsa police officer is in a federal judge's hands.
Monday night was the deadline for final arguments in the case before U.S. District Judge James Payne before he rules on what is alleged to be perjurious testimony by Jeff Henderson in June.
Henderson was convicted last year in the Tulsa police corruption case on six counts of perjury and two counts of civil rights violations.
He is serving a 42-month sentence and is assigned to a federal prison in South Dakota.
Henderson was brought back to Tulsa to testify at a hearing in connection with prison inmate Tony Becknell Jr.'s petition for release, and the current perjury charges are related to testimony he gave in that hearing.
In the testimony, Henderson identified a man he said he used as an informant to obtain information for a search warrant that led to Becknell's arrest while Henderson was a police officer in March 2005.
Becknell's attorney, Paul DeMuro, later showed that the man Henderson identified as an informant was in the Tulsa Jail during the time Henderson said he drove around with the man and gained the information for the search warrant.
Becknell's sentence was vacated, and he was released from prison.
In closing arguments, Henderson's attorney said his client honestly thought he was naming the correct informant, whom he allegedly had used on a nearly identical case a year earlier.
"The fact that (the informant) was the informant in 2004 rather than 2005 was simply a mistake," Henderson's attorney stated. "It was an error.
"It was not perjury and was not intended to obstruct justice."
The prosecution's closing argument focused on Henderson's emphatic tone in his alleged perjurious testimony, calling Henderson a "professional witness ... who knows full well the gravity of taking an oath."
The prosecution is led by Jane Duke, an assistant U.S. attorney from Arkansas who led the police corruption probe.
In her closing argument, Duke said the prosecution is not necessarily seeking the maximum penalty for misdemeanor perjury charges but instead is asking for any penalty "for Jeff Henderson's deliberate and flagrant disregard of this court's order."
According to a supplement response filed Monday night by Henderson's attorney, any finding of contempt - with or without additional time added to his prison sentence - would result in Henderson's losing his "good time" credits in prison.
If found guilty of perjury, Henderson would not get to spend the last six months of his sentence in a halfway house and might have to serve 100 percent of his sentence rather than 85 percent - in addition to any additional imprisonment levied against him by the court.
The federal investigation of Tulsa police officers and a federal agent began as early as 2008 and resulted in charges against six current or former Tulsa police officers and the federal agent, as well as accusations of criminal behavior against five unindicted officers.
In addition to Henderson, two other Tulsa police officers and one federal agent were convicted in the corruption probe.
At least 45 people have been freed from prison or had their cases modified because of civil rights violations or potential problems with their cases stemming from the police corruption.
At least 14 lawsuits have been filed against the city and individual police officers as a result.
Original Print Headline: Arguments completed in ex-cop perjury case
Jarrel Wade 918-581-8367
Jeff Henderson: The former Tulsa police officer is accused of giving false testimony about working with an informant when in fact the informant was in the Tulsa Jail at the time. Henderson's attorney told the court that his client's recollection "was simply a mistake."