The Rogers County District Attorney’s Office will still oversee the Bixby rape case.
The defense attorneys for the four players involved, who were not in court today, tried to disqualify that office from prosecuting the case.
It was supposed to be a preliminary hearing to look at evidence, but the entire day was dedicated to a disqualification hearing.
It started with a big surprise.. the defense attorneys called Rogers County District Attorney Matt Ballard to the stand as a witness to discuss his relationship with the victim’s mother.
The defense painted a picture of the victim's mother as a puppet master behind the scene who was directing the shots, pulling the strings, and working with The Rogers County District Attorney’s Office throughout the investigation.
Her close friendship with Rogers County Assistant DA Kali Strain was the main talking point of the day - Strain was one of the initial lead prosecutors assigned to this case in Rogers County.
Strain admitted to having a close relationship with the victim’s family, even having babysat the victim before.
DA Matt Ballard was aware of that fact and also worked with the victim's mother before and was an attorney for the Bixby School District.
However, Rogers County DA's office stood by their claim that there was no conflict of interest despite the close personal relationship between one of their prosecutors and the victim’s family.
The judge carefully reviewed the case and did not find enough relevant evidence to disqualify the Rogers County DA’s office.
“What happened in this case is different from most," Defense Attorney Clark Brewster said. "There was an on slot of press and it just didn’t track with the facts. We tried to understand why that was and I think the hearing today really explains that. Our position is we want to defend our clients in a fair setting with fair prosecutors based on the facts. If that happens, we are very confident.”
The preliminary hearing is now set for May 22.
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