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Attorney for Oklahoma State Dept. of Health faces charges for sending threats, resigns

Julie Ezell has been charged with falsely reporting a crime in Oklahoma County. (Oklahoma County Sheriff)

The lawyer who helped draft the rules approved by the Oklahoma State Department of Health resigned Friday. Now she's facing felony charges for creating a fake email account to send herself threats over her role in the program's implementation.

The OSDH confirmed Tuesday that Julie Ezell resigned from her position Friday. Shortly after the news was announced, Ezell was charged with falsely reporting a crime, preparing false evidence and computer crimes.

She turned herself in to the Oklahoma County Jail Tuesday night, where she was booked for the charges and released.

Ezell helped draft emergency rules that were presented last week to the Oklahoma State Board of Health. The board approved the rules, but not before adding two amendments that would ban smokable products and require a pharmacist in all dispensaries. Ezell advised the board that the move would likely bring litigation, which it did.

After the board approved the rules, FOX 25 reported that health department staff that worked on the rules began receiving threatening emails. The emailed threats came from a user identified as “MaryJame” using the internet-based email provider “Proton Mail.” Court records show that the emails were sent to Ezell.

The first email, sent at 2 a.m. on a Sunday, reads:

“If the government thinks they can take our rights away and erase our laws. I [sic] have news for you. We can show up with force to stop it. We will stop YOU and you’re [sic] greed. Anyway it takes to end your evil and protect what is ours. We will watch you.”

The same account sent another email to Ezell later in the day reading:

"Your [sic] all the same. Protect your cronies and trample everyone you can find. These laws are a laughing stalk. We will expose your corruption and evil. We would hate to hurt [you]. You will hear us. We are just beginning.”

Later emails contained Ezell's home address and descriptions of her vehicles. On July 9, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation was called in to look into the threats. An OSBI agent met with Ezell July 12. When looking at the woman's cellphone they reportedly noticed her browser history had been deleted. A forensic exam was done on the phone and reportedly found that Ezell's phone had accessed Proton Mail and that someone had used the browser to search "does proton mail track ip addresses." The exam also found that the email inbox for MaryJame@protonmail.com had been accessed from the phone.

OSBI agents met with Ezell again July 13 following the phone examination. Ezell reportedly confessed to creating the email and sending threats to herself. Overall, the OSBI had nine agents working the case while three officers with the Edmond Police Department and two officers with OU Health Science Center were working the case and assisting in Ezell's safe passage to and from her home and workplace.

Ezell is being represented by attorney Ed Blau.

“We are aware of the charges filed today by the Oklahoma County District Attorney. Julie Ezell has worked as a loyal and dedicated public servant her entire career as a lawyer. These charges do not reflect who she is as a person, nor do they reflect the type of advocate she has been for the people of the State of Oklahoma. These allegations will be answered, and additional relevant information will be provided by us at the appropriate time.” Blau said in a statement.

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