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Case Continues Against Church Accountant

Monday, August 27, 2007 at 7:33 AM

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The prosecution continues its case today against a former church accountant accused of bilking the Cleveland Catholic Diocese for nearly $800,000. ideastream's David C. Barnett recaps the trial, so far.

Last week, jurors heard testimony from two area businessmen who claimed they were used as middlemen in a kickback scheme that was run by accountant Anton Zgoznik and the Church’s former Chief Financial Officer, Joseph Smith.  Geoff Mearns, Dean of Cleveland State University’s College of Law, says, so far, the prosecution has put forth a strong case.

Geoff Mearns: Their cooperating witness has provided some very compelling testimony to support the allegations, but again, this is only one side of the case, and what remains to be developed going forward is whether the prosecution can provide some documentation to support this witness’s account of what happened. 

The prosecution has implied that they will do just that, this week.  The Defense continues to claim that any money that exchanged hands was for legitimate compensation—not kickbacks.  U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aldrich has estimated that the trial will last another three weeks.  Today’s session is scheduled to get underway at 1:00 pm.  David C. Barnett, 90.3.

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Courts/Crime - Fire/Law Enforcement, Ethics/Religion

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