(VitalNews.org) – In July 2020, US Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio David DeVillers joined FBI Special Agent in Charge Chris Hoffman to announce the criminal charges filed against Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R) and four others. Authorities accused the group of conspiracy to participate in the conduct of an enterprise’s affairs through racketeering activity. That offense can include crimes like murder, kidnapping, extortion, and bribery. Two and a half years later, the trial is starting.
The case against Householder, slated to start this week, centers around a $60-million bribery scheme. According to the indictment, the former lawmaker accepted a payout from an energy company in exchange for his help in passing House Bill 6. The legislation was essentially a $1-million bailout for two nuclear power plants.
Former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder's $60M bribery trial to begin next week https://t.co/faJmAduFvl
— Fox News Politics (@foxnewspolitics) January 19, 2023
Householder didn’t accept the money directly, however. Instead, he allegedly set up a dummy corporation called Generation Now to launder the funds over the course of three years. That money, authorities say, was then funneled to the Ohio politician. USA Today noted that court documents accused Householder of directing at least $1 million from the phony business to launch negative ads against his opponents so he could become speaker of the House and ensure the passage of the House bill — as promised.
Following his indictment, members of the Ohio House expelled the former Ohio speaker. His removal from power was the first time the state’s lower chamber made such a move in well over a century. Fox News reported Householder’s attorneys plan to argue that there was no nefarious scheme, alleging the transaction was simply standard practice in politics.
Prosecutors have a different view. They believe Householder’s actions rise to the level of illegal racketeering, and the lawyers plan to use emails, texts, phone calls, documents, and witness testimony to prove their case. If convicted, the former politician could face up to 20 years behind bars.
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