A Tahlequah lawyer who once served as an assistant district attorney in Cherokee County has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of methamphetamine possession and firearm possession after a former felony conviction.
Haskell Doak Willis, 65, was brought into the courtroom in handcuffs Friday morning and sat quietly until Magistrate Judge Steven P. Shreder arrived.
Willis was allegedly discovered in possession of a gun and methamphetamine during the execution of a search warrant on Aug. 26, according to a press release from the office of Eastern District of Oklahoma U.S. Attorney Brian J. Kuester.
"The Tahlequah Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives each participated in the investigation that led to the indictment," the release states.
Willis pleaded not guilty to the charges, which prompted Shreder to assign a Jan. 7 court date for the next step of the proceedings. Willis was allowed to remain free on $2,500 unsecured bond.
The prosecuting attorney, Assistant U.S. Attorney Shannon Henson, had initially requested that Willis' travel be restricted to the Eastern District of Oklahoma for the duration of the case.
Willis' attorney, Donn Baker, asked that his client be allowed to travel to the Western and Northern districts for work.
"He has clients he represents in those districts," Baker told Shreder.
Henson noted that the prosecution took no issue with allowing Willis to travel, assuming it was for work. Shreder said the court agreed.
The felony in question in Willis' firearm possession charge is a 1992 conviction for drug fraud, in which Willis pleaded guilty to receiving fraudulent prescriptions for painkilling medication Percocet from a former Tahlequah physician, Dr. Michael Wyly.
Willis resigned in 1988 as an assistant district attorney to re-enter private practice. The resignation followed a 1987 arrest for driving under the influence in Kimberling City, Missouri. Willis has also been the subject of a number of civil actions, plus protective orders and sanctions.
If convicted of his current charges, Willis could face up to 11 years in prison and/or up to $251,000 in fines.