Former Toledo council member makes argument for separate trial in corruption case

Prosecutors asked the judge to make plea agreement dates
Former Toledo city council member makes argument for separate trial in corruption case
Published: Mar. 14, 2022 at 10:59 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Should all four former Toledo City Council members facing corruption charges be tried together?

That’s just one of the arguments hashed out in federal court Monday as their cases come close to the two year mark. Only two of the defendants showed up but all of their attorneys were there.

The one who has been most active defending his case spelled it out pretty clearly again. His lawyers do not believe their client was part of a conspiracy.

Gary Johnson is the name you see most often in the court filings in the case of the four Toledo City Council members facing corruption charges.

He, Larry Sykes, Yvonne Harper and Tyrone Riley all face charges but Johnson’s lawyers have been most active with motions to throw parts of the case out and Monday Johnson’s lawyers made oral arguments.

Their first point was that they don’t believe the evidence shows Johnson participated in a conspiracy and other charges should be dropped because they don’t show a quid pro quo or Johnson doing an action in exchange for something.

With all that, Johnson’s lawyers want his trial separate as not be included with whatever the other three may or may not have done. All four are accused of taking bribes in exchange for city council votes. Part of the arguments Monday were that all four members voting the same way doesn’t necessarily mean a conspiracy.

Government lawyers contended they have many pieces of evidence to prove corruption and bribes.

Defense lawyers will now have the ability to speak to one more person. Judge James Carr ruled and the government agreed to remove a provision in one witness confidentiality agreement. In it a hospital employee in Toledo was talking to the FBI about objecting to an internet café. The confidentiality agreement says that person could not talk to anyone about this or face prison. The prosecution will lift the prison part and if defense lawyers call, that person is now free to talk with them.

In July this case will hit the two year mark. Prosecutors asked the judge to make plea agreement dates if anyone wants to take one. The judge said he’d take that under advisement along with all other motions which includes potentially splitting up the trials.

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