A preliminary hearing has been set for July 30 for the police officer accused of perjury in an Oklahoma drug trafficking case.
Former police officer Rodney Richards has been accused of lying about a federal arrest warrant, falsifying an affidavit, lying about the jurisdiction of a police pursuit, and lying under oath during the trial of an alleged drug dealer. This is not the first time Richards has faced perjury charges. In 2006, Richards was accused of lying about the presence of a police informant during a drug bust.
Richards was acquitted in that case, and his Oklahoma defense lawyer asserts that Richards is an honest, hard-working officer. He suspects that the most recent charges against Richards are politically motivated. The District Attorney in the current case, Bret Burns, was the assistant district attorney in the 2006 case and is currently seeking re-election. Burns maintains that Richards lied under oath, and that "his perjury allowed a drug dealer to go free."
The alleged perjury came to light during the preliminary hearing of a suspected drug trafficker, Robert Shawn Williams. Rodney Richards and his partner Randy Johnson were accused of providing differing stories about Williams's arrest, and prosecutors say the officers "doctored" a police audiotape.
The case against Williams was dismissed. Richards and Johnson reported that they began a high-speed pursuit of Williams and his passenger, Melanie Ann Anderson, within the Marlow police department's jurisdiction and that it continued into Grady County, resulting in the arrest of Williams and Anderson, who was convicted of drug trafficking after officers found crystal meth hidden on her body.
However, another police officer reported that he saw Richards and Johnson that day, but that they were parked near the Grady County line, past the jurisdiction of the Marlow officers. If convicted of purjury, Rodney Richards faces up to 15 years in prison. Neither Richards nor his current Oklahoma criminal defense attorney were available for comment on the case.