OKLAHOMA: GOP State Senator Charged With Child Prostitution To Resign Today, Dem Announces Bid

Tulsa World reports:

The Oklahoma Senate does not need a conviction to expel Sen. Ralph Shortey, who is facing child prostitution charges, experts said. But in the end, it might not matter. An attorney for Shortey told The Oklahoman late Monday that the senator will step down. He has hired Oklahoma City attorney Ed Blau, a former prosecutor, as his defense attorney. Blau confirmed Monday night he advised Shortey to resign from the Senate. He said Shortey agreed and will step down by 5 p.m. Wednesday, The Oklahoman reported.

The Senate last week voted to strip Shortey of his privileges, but the Oklahoma City Republican remains a voting member and continues to draw his $38,400 annual salary. Those privileges included a Capitol office, an executive assistant and a reserved parking spot. The resolution stripping Shortey of his privileges passed unanimously. The Oklahoma Constitution allows each chamber of the Legislature to “determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.”

More from Oklahoma City’s NBC affiliate:

An Oklahoma attorney has announced that he plans to run for Oklahoma’s 44th State Senate seat, which is expected to become available when current Oklahoma Senator Ralph Shortey resigns. Michael Brooks-Jimenez, a Democrat, announced his plans Tuesday afternoon.

“I’m proud to announce I’m running for State Senate District 44,” Brooks-Jimenez said. “Working families, senior citizens, and teachers in southwest Oklahoma City have gone without a voice at the capitol for far too long. It’s time for someone to step up and restore the trust of voters and bring integrity back to the office.”

From the Associated Press:

The FBI in Oklahoma City has confirmed it is investigating a Republican state senator who is facing felony child prostitution charges after police say he solicited sex from a 17-year-old boy. FBI spokeswoman Jessica Rice confirmed Monday that her agency served a search warrant Friday at the Oklahoma City home of Sen. Ralph Shortey.

Rice said she could not provide any more details because of a “sensitive ongoing investigation.” No federal charges have been filed against Shortey. State prosecutors charged Shortey last week with engaging in child prostitution, transporting a minor for prostitution and engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church. He was released on a $100,000 bond.

A physically imposing man standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 315 pounds, Shortey frequently wore a fedora or straw hat that made him appear even taller. Shortey’s voting record shows that despite living in the state’s capital city, he missed nearly half of the votes before most of his Senate privileges were suspended last week, according to eCapitol, an online bill tracking service.

He also frustrated the occasional security guard posted at the state Capitol entrance by breezing through the metal detector and setting off the alarms but refusing to stop and be screened like all other visitors. “If a legislator wants to carry a firearm in the Capitol, I think they have a constitutional protection to do that,” Shortey told the AP last year, despite a Department of Public Safety prohibition on anyone bringing a gun into the Capitol building except for licensed law enforcement officers.

Shortey was infamous for filing bizarre bills, among them a proposed ban on human fetuses in food products and an ordinance authorizing homeowners to shoot down drones.

Shortey also authored numerous anti-immigrant bills, including one that would deny US citizenship to babies born of undocumented parents. Additionally, he sponsored many items on the threat of electronic pulse attacks, a longtime topic in the fever swamps at InfoWars.

The head of Equality Oklahoma notes that Shortey once promised him that he would leave the Senate chamber during a vote on an anti-transgender bill, but Shortey appeared at his desk and voted for it anyway. Shortey was the state Trump campaign chairman during the GOP primary.