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McMahan denies granting political favors

Muskogee_Oklahoma's embattled state Auditor and Inspector denies knowing of or granting political favors to those who skirted election laws to contribute to his campaign.

Jeff McMahan also testified in federal court in Muskogee Thursday that he gave investigators different stories about jewelry his wife, Lori, received from southeast Oklahoma businessman Steve Phipps.

Federal prosecutors have charged the McMahans with conspiracy, mail fraud and Travel Act violations for allegedly accepting bribes.

According to an indictment, the couple took about $77,600 in illegal "straw donations" in a scheme orchestrated by Phipps. He and former state Senator Gene Stipe owned several abstract businesses that were once regulated by McMahan's office.

Oversight of the industry moved to an independent board on January 1st.

Under oath, McMahan denied being present during a dinner at a Shawnee restaurant where his wife allegedly was given $10,000 in cash for his campaign.

On Wednesday prosecutors spent several hours cross-examining Lori McMahan in an effort to point out inconsistencies in her stories.

Copyright 2008 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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