Informant closes prosecution's case in Householder, Borges federal trial; defense takes over
The prosecution has rested in the racketeering trial of Republican former Ohio House speaker Larry Householder and ex-GOP chair Matt Borges. The testimony for the prosecution in the federal corruption case related to the House Bill 6 nuclear power plant bailout ended with an informant who’d been close with Borges.
Republican operative Tyler Fehrman told jurors that it seemed wrong when he says his friend Borges, who knew Ferhman was in financial trouble, offered him money for information about the campaign to ask voters to repeal House Bill 6.
But after meeting with an FBI special agent, Fehrman accepted a $15,000 check from Borges, who wanted information on signature gathering for the repeal effort, which never made it to the ballot. Fehrman said he felt threatened when Borges said he’d blow up Fehrman’s house if now-retired Columbus Dispatch reporter Randy Ludlow found out – a comment captured on tape by the FBI.
Borges' attorney then cross-examined Fehrman, asking about details of his personal financial situation and how that might have played into the decision to offer information to the FBI.
Then the defense began its case, calling as its first witness Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati), a supporter of both House Bill 6 and Householder. Seitz said he thought the law was good policy and said he never saw Householder threaten anyone.
Householder and Borges are accused in a $61 million bribery scheme to pass House Bill 6 for FirstEnergy, a subsidiary of which owned the nuclear power plants. They’ve said they’re innocent, and Householder has suggested he will testify in his defense.