Former OKC Mayor Charged
Less than a month later, the G. T. Blankenship-led effort to reform an Oklahoma State Supreme Court corruption ring churned out breathtaking new headlines. Attorney O. A. Cargill, one of the biggest names in Oklahoma, was indicted on three counts of perjury by the same grand jury that had indicted Corn and Welch for income tax invasion. Well into the “fourth quarter” of life like Corn, Welch, and Johnson—his next birthday would be his 80th—Cargill’s life in many ways reflected that of the state he had helped pioneer years before its birth, back in 1901.
He cowboyed and rodeoed in territorial days. Coming to Oklahoma City, he worked as a streetcar conductor, a rough and ready police officer called “Big Boy,” and U.S. Marshal. He also earned his law degree, served as Oklahoma County Attorney, and represented Oklahoma at three Democratic National Conventions. He was OKC mayor from 1923-27.
For the next four decades, the tall, bluff counselor built one of the most prominent law practices in the Southwest. Son of a Baptist minister, he himself was a Baptist deacon, taught Bible classes for decades, authored several “religious books,” and received an honorary doctorate from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
The former mayor also possessed a dominant reputation in Oklahoma City as a political kingmaker. When Berry first campaigned against an ally of Cargill’s for a seat on the state Supreme Court in 1959, he consistently heard: “You can’t do it because Ned Looney and O. A. Cargill run politics. They name the judges.”
Now, however, in a unique and turbulent public climate, Cargill faced a challenge unlike any before. His charges all concerned his testimony to the grand jury the year before. In it, he had denied involvement in the high court bribes and trial fixing that brought down Corn and Welch.
The grand jury also accused Cargill of audaciously fabricating a story out of whole cloth to explain the whereabouts of the afore-mentioned Hugh Carroll’s $150,000 bribe money to Justice Corn. The former mayor issued a booming denunciation of the charges:
“Our grand jury system has stooped to a new low when a self-confessed ex-convict who harbors a bitter dislike for someone can dip his slimy tongue into the cesspool of perjury and procure an indictment against an innocent man, then, I say, ‘God save this nation from some form of tyranny.’”
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Oklahomans Vol 2 :
Statehood - 2020s
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