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Former Oklahoma Health Department Lawyer Pleads Guilty To False Harassment Charges

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma
The Oklahoma State Department of Health building in Oklahoma City.

The former top lawyer for the state health department pleaded guilty to false harassment charges this week.

In 2018, Julie Ezell sent herself threatening emails posing as a medical marijuana advocate. The emails threatened retribution if the board of health imposed restrictive rules on medical marijuana. The board ended up passing the rules, but after public uproar later overturned them.

Ezell confessed to sending herself those emails and resigned as general counsel of the Health Department. She was charged with two felonies but this week received a plea deal, dropping the charges to one misdemeanor and one felony and five years of probation. She also had to reimburse the state about $20,000 for the investigation.

Ezell could face further consequences over the threatening emails from the Oklahoma Supreme Court. One possible discipline is the suspension of her law license.

Jackie Fortiér worked for StateImpact Oklahoma from November 2017 to January 2020, reporting on a variety of topics and heading up its health reporting initiative. She has many journalism awards to her name during her years of multi-media reporting in Colorado, and was part of a team recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists with a Sigma Delta Chi award for excellence in breaking news reporting in 2013.
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