Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Cincinnati council indicted for corruption resigns amid pressure

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A Cincinnati City Council member resigned under pressure Monday less than a week after being indicted on federal charges alleging that she tried to sell her vote.

Democrat Tamaya Dennard said in a statement released by her attorney that she was stepping down “with great sadness.”

Dennard said that she didn’t want to be a distraction from the work that needs to be done for the city, and that she will need to focus her time and energy “to address these charges against me.”

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters on Sunday had given her 48 hours to resign or face potential state charges. Deters had said he and Attorney General Dave Yost could petition the Ohio Supreme Court to take action to remove her from office. Yost and Deters are both Republicans, but fellow Democrats also raised questions about her status after her indictment Feb. 25.

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Dennard had balked earlier, saying that “judgment is so easy” and that she was seeking due process.

Elected in November 2017, Dennard, 40, is charged with three counts, including bribery accusing her of trying to sell votes.

Federal authorities said “a concerned citizen” who works for a law firm contacted law enforcement and worked with the FBI. An affidavit states Dennard received a total $15,000 last year. Federal investigators said she quickly spent more than $4,000 on a Florida trip.

U.S. Attorney David DeVillers said Dennard, if convicted, faces up to 20 years each in prison on counts of wire fraud and attempted extortion, and up to 10 years on a bribery charge. She remains free pending a March 16 hearing.

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