Ohio’s largest public corruption trial delayed for second time due to COVID-19

CINCINNATI — The largest public corruption trial in Ohio is being delayed again because of COVID-19.

U.S. District Court Judge Tim Black sent jurors home with at-home COVID tests on Monday and told them to take the tests before returning to court, our news partners at WCPO in Cincinnati reported. One juror was reported to have tested positive.

This is the second time that COVID-19 has caused a delay in the trail involving former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and former Ohio GOP chair Matt Borges. A juror tested positive for the virus on Jan. 25 and the trial was subsequently delayed for four days. When testimony resumed, Black wore a mask and those in court to wear them as well.

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One juror was dismissed after refusing to wear a mask and being unable to produce a negative COVID test, WCPO reported.

Householder and four associates were arrested in 2020. News Center 7 previously reported that prosecutors allege they took around $60 million from FirstEnergy Corp. in exchange for orchestrating a scheme to elect Householder as speaker and his allies to House seats, allowing them to then pass a $1.3 billion bailout bill for two Ohio nuclear power plants.

While Householder and Borges have maintain their innocence while facing racketeering conspiracy, WCPO reported that FirstEnergy admitted its guilt, signed a deferred prosecution agreement and agreed to pay a $230 million fine.

Two other defendants have pleaded guilty and are expected to testify at the trial, WCPO reported.

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