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Stillwater Mayor in Court

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Stillwater Mayor Nathan Bates

By Associated Press

Stillwater, OK – Oklahoma mayor faces preliminary hearing on charge

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Stillwater Mayor Nathan Bates on accusations that he used his city computer to try to win a public grant for a company he owns.

The hearing for the 28-year-old Bates will begin Tuesday before Payne County Special Judge Phillip Corley.

A grand jury indicted Bates in September for allegedly violating Oklahoma's Computer Crimes Act. The indictment accuses Bates of using his official computer and e-mail account to help obtain a $5,000 grant for his company, Icon Properties Inc., and promote a commercial business venture it was intended to finance.

Bates denied wrongdoing when he testified before the grand jury. He has accused political opponents of trying to force him out of office.

Bates faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.