8/15/07 -- OKC, OK - Today marks the end of an over two-year nightmare for my client, Mr. Bates, and his family.
While Mr. Bates has always maintained his innocence regarding the original charges against him, in an effort to move on with his life, he has agreed to plead to a single misdemeanor charge.
That charge is a single count of obstruction of a police officer, for not turning over a video tape to police for consideration for prosecution.
Mr. Bates' plea agreement brings this case to a close.
Mr. Bates wishes to thank his supporters for standing behind him and his family during this entire process.
So, what does this all mean? (by Brian Bates)
First and foremost it means that the single felony charge against my wife, Vickie, was dropped on the merits of the case. Meaning that the state acknowledged that there was no basis for the charges against her and the dismissal is not part of my plea agreement and that Vickie's records will be expunged in the very near future.
Secondly, while the state initially accused me of wrong-doing by alleging I paid prostitutes to lure clients to where they could be videotaped - ultimately the prosecutor abandoned that stance.
In the end it was agreed that I would plead guilty to a single misdemeanor count of "obstruction of public officer."
The obstruction charge is based on my not turning in a video tape of an alleged act of prostitution so that police could pursue charges.
Here's the irony of the plea agreement - Neither I nor my attorney asked for a plea. A plea was offered by the prosecution - and not just any plea. Literally, the prosecution offered to drop all 8 felony charges (200+ years in prison if convicted) if I would plead to a misdemeanor.... any misdemeanor!
Seriously folks, I had to pick my own crime to plead to!
The prosecutor has no idea what video was not turned over to police or what it contained. And he obviously didn't care. Yet, he reportedly told the media he felt "justice was served."
This would be like a police officer arresting someone off the street and then demanding they tell him what they did wrong.
Regardless, I felt I would be a fool not to take an offer to pick my own misdemeanor deferred plea in exchange for all the other charges being dismissed. This in essence stops the financial and mental drain on me and my family and allows me to explore other opportunities that have been presented as a result of the media attention this case has brought to my activism.
As for my deferred sentence; not a single limitation on my video activism was placed on me. As you can read in the public document, or in the excerpt below, the only stipulations are ones that protect the identity and/or criminal activity of the state's witnesses; which begs the question - Whose interests were being served in this case, resolution and stipulations - the citizens of Oklahoma or those public servants who wish to silence Bates and his criticisms?
"1 year deferred sent[ence] unsupervised. [Defendant] will remove any reference and videos [one, two, three, four, five] to any endorsed [state's] witnesses and [omitted] by name from his Internet Web sites. [Defendant] will use his best efforts to remove from YouTube the above described people. All parties will use best efforts not to initiate contact with each other. However, in [defendant's] activism, if endorsed witness is committing any offense he may document suspected criminal activity. If any endorsed witness or [omitted] makes any public statement, Mr. Bates may respond. Mr. Bates agree[s] not to republish or otherwise refer to above [witnesses] by name otherwise..."
I have agreed to comply with the above terms within the next 10-days (8/24/07).
In the end, the state of Oklahoma wasted thousands of your tax dollars pursuing what can only be defined as less than a traffic ticket.