Former Ohio politician convicted of major corruption charges

Former House Speaker of the state Larry the host and former Ohio Republican Party Chair Matt Borges was convicted Thursday in a $60 million bribery scheme that federal prosecutors called the largest corruption case in state history.

A Cincinnati jury found the two guilty of conspiracy to engage in a racketeering enterprise involving bribery and money laundering, after about 9 1/2 half-hours of deliberations by the two day.

US Attorney Kenneth Parker said the government’s prosecution team showed that “the host sold the Statehouse, and thus ultimately betrayed the people of the great state of Ohio that he was elected to serve.” He called Borges “a willing co-conspirator.”

“Through its verdict today, the jury reaffirmed that the illegal acts committed by both men were unacceptable and that they must be held accountable,” Parker said.

Attorneys for Householder and Borges did not immediately respond to messages left by The Associated Press on Thursday.

Prosecutors accused Householder of orchestrating the incident a scheme secretly funded by Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. to secure his power in the Legislature, pick his allies – and then pass and defend a $1 billion nuclear power plant bailout that benefits the electric utility. They allege that Borges, once a lobbyist, sought to bribe an operative for inside information on the referendum to overturn the bailout.

House, 63, was one of Ohio’s most powerful politicians — and twice elected speaker — until the Republican-controlled House ousted him after his impeachment from his leadership position, and then in a bipartisan vote, and with the The host strongly objected, from the room. It was the first expulsion in 150 years.

she stood up in his own defensecontradicted FBI testimony and denied that he attended lavish dinners in Washington where prosecutors allege that he and executives of First Force The detailed scheme was hatched in 2017.

Borges, 50, did not testify at the trial but insisted he is innocent. Both men face up to 20 years in prison.

The verdict comes two and a half years after Householder, Borges and three others were arrested in what prosecutors call the largest corruption case in Ohio history.

Over the past seven weeks, trial jurors have been presented with personal accounts of the alleged scheme, as well as reams of financial documents, emails, texts and wire-tap audio.

The prosecution called two of the people arrested – Juan Cespedes and Jeff Longstreth, who pleaded guilty – to testify about the political contributions they said were not ordinary, but bribes intended to ensure the passage of the bailout bill, known as House Bill 6.

The homemaker’s lawyers have described his activities as nothing more than hardball politics.

Jurors also heard phone calls in which the host and another co-defendant, the late Statehouse superlobbyist Neil Clark, plotted a vicious attack ad — and, in turn way, thinking to take revenge against the lawmakers who crossed the Householder.

The host testified that he never retaliated against those who voted against his wishes or donated to his opponents.

Underneath a deal to avoid prosecutionFirstEnergy admitted to using a network of dark money groups to fund the scheme and even hiring the state’s top utility regulatorSam Randazzo.

Randazzo resigned as chair of Ohio’s Public Utilities Commission after the FBI searched his home, but he was not charged and has denied wrongdoing.

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