Local & Regional
9:31 am
Tue May 26, 2009

Reba asks for mercy

McAlester, OK – Country singer asks judge for leniency

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) Country music superstar Reba McEntire is among dozens of people asking a federal judge to show leniency on a Kiowa businessman scheduled to be sentenced this week.

McEntire is one of 46 people who wrote a letter or affidavit to U.S. District Judge Ronald White on behalf of Steve Phipps. The Kiowa businessman pleaded guilty in 2007 to a federal conspiracy charge and is scheduled to be sentenced tomorrow in U.S. District Court in Muskogee.

McEntire grew up with Phipps in southeast Oklahoma and wrote that the two have been close friends since grade school. She added that Phipps' son is completing an internship with her Nashville, Tenn.-based company, Starstruck.

Federal prosecutors also are asking White to show leniency on Phipps, who could face up to five years in a federal prison.

Prosecutors say Phipps played a key role in a federal probe into political corruption in southeast Oklahoma, including the investigation into former state Auditor Jeff McMahan and his wife, both of whom were sentenced to prison.

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Information from: McAlester News-Capital, http://www.mcalesternews.com