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What’s next in the Householder, Borges trial?

Larry Householder, former Ohio House speaker, walks into the Potter Stewart United States Court House in Cincinnati on Jan. 23, 2023.
Andy Chow
Statehouse News Bureau
Larry Householder, former Ohio House speaker, walks into the Potter Stewart United States Court House in Cincinnati on Jan. 23, 2023.

Federal prosecutors are planning to bring several new witnesses to the stand in their case against Larry Householder and Matt Borges, who are accused of playing roles in a $61 million bribery scheme.

The prosecution has said it plans to bring former Householder associates, Anna Lippincott and Megan Fitzmartin, to testify in the trial.

Lippincott and Fitzmartin were former employees of JPL and Associates, which was run by Jeff Longstreth, a co-defendant in the case who agreed to a plea deal.

Prosecutors said JPL was the firm behind Generation Now, the 501(c)4 funded by FirstEnergy that Householder is accused of operating for personal and political gain.

Householder, Republican former Ohio House speaker, is accused of taking the money in exchange for passing House Bill 6 in 2019, a $1 billion nuclear power plant bailout.

Blane Wetzel wrapped up spending seven trial days on the stand going through the mountain of documents he obtained through his investigation. New witnesses will be brought up once the defense teams conclude their cross examination.

Other witnesses for the prosecution include Juan Cespedes, Jeff Longstreth, and Tyler Fehrman.

Cespedes is a former FirstEnergy lobbyist who has agreed to a plea deal with the prosecution and admitted to playing a role in the flow of money from FirstEnergy to Generation Now.

Longstreth, while with JPL and Associates, was Householder’s political strategist. Longstreth has also reached a deal with the prosecution.

Fehrman worked for the campaign to repeal HB 6 in 2019. The FBI said they were approached by Fehrman after Borges had offered a bribe in exchange for information on the referendum attempt.

Wetzel presented hidden camera footage where Borges discussed giving Fehrman a $15,000 check in exchange for information on the referendum campaign. That signed check was presented as evidence in the case.

Borges’ lawyers said that money was an upfront payment for unrelated work after the repeal effort.

The trial has seen several delays due to jurors testing positive for COVID-19. It was originally expected to last up to six weeks.

Once the prosecution works through their witnesses, the defense will bring up their witnesses.

Contact Andy at achow@statehousenews.org.