One year later still no trial or trial date for Toledo City Council members in bribery case

Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 6:39 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - One year later, and there’s still no trial or trial dates for the Toledo City Council members charged in a corruption scandal.

All four were put into handcuffs one year ago. Council members Yvonne Harper, Tyrone Riley, Larry Sykes, and Gary Johnson are all facing federal charges in what prosecutors call a bribery and extortion scheme. None of them currently sits on council as they await those court proceedings.

A pretrial that was set for July has been canceled with no new date set.

One by one, federal agents arrested those four council members on June 30, 2020. Harper, Sykes, Riley, and Johnson all were eventually taken to federal court for their first hearing. A grand jury later indicted Sykes, Riley, and Johnson on counts of conspiracy and Hobbs Act extortion. Harper got an additional charge of conspiracy to commit extortion.

Each one denied the charges to 13abc as they left the court that afternoon, and all four have entered not-guilty pleas. The government alleges that each one tried to take money or acquire other items in exchange for council votes.

While not currently serving, each one is still technically a City Council member, they are just suspended from their position. Four new council members have been selected in their place.

A fifth person also indicted in this case was attorney Keith Mitchell. He was charged with similar offenses but died earlier this year.

One of the issues in front of the court is a motion from Johnson’s attorney asking for a hearing to determine the admissibility of statements of the other three. The judge hasn’t ruled on that motion yet.

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