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Trial set to begin for former Ohio House Speaker

photo of Larry Householder
ANDY CHOW
/
Ideastream Public Media
Former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Friday in Cincinnati in the trial of former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and former Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges. Both face federal racketeering charges tied to the passage of House Bill 6, a wide-ranging energy bill that included a billion-dollar bailout for two nuclear power plants owned by First-Energy Solutions.

Prosecutors allege Householder and his associates accepted more than $60 million in bribes from FirstEnergy to help put Householder back in power at the statehouse and to muscle through the so-called nuclear bailout bill. Householder and Borges have maintained their innocence throughout the investigation which went public in the summer of 2020.

FirstEnergy signed a deferred prosecution agreement in July 2021 and agreed to pay a $230 million penalty.

The state Representative who lost out on the house speaker vote wants to improve transparency and ethics laws for the statehouse. Derrick Merrin, a Republican from the Toledo-area introduced a bill that will require lobbyists to report all income they make from clients and prevent public elected officials from serving on corporate boards. Merrin says trust and integrity are crucial for people to have confidence in their government.

Attorney General Dave Yost says the case against eight police officers involved in the shooting death of Jayland Walker could be presented to a grand jury in early April. Yost spoke to the Akron Beacon Journal this week about the investigation. Walker died last June after being hit or grazed by 46 shots fired by police. Walker was unarmed when officers shot him. Yost told the Beacon Journal that the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation or BCI is still piecing together hours of footage from officers’ body cameras. BCI will turn the case over to special prosecutors when completed.

A group of parents filed a federal lawsuit against the Hilliard School District near Columbus. The lawsuit alleges that teachers are discussing LGBTQ topics with students without parental consent. The parents claim in their lawsuit that teachers are discussing gender identity and sexual orientation with children as young as 6. They also object to teachers wearing badges that support LGBTQ students. The district has not commented on the lawsuit.

Guests:
-Andy Chow, News Editor, Statehouse News Bureau, Ohio Public Radio/TV
-Gabriel Kramer, Reporter, Ideastream Public Media
-Ken Schneck, Editor, The Buckeye Flame
-Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV

Leigh Barr is a producer for Ideastream Public Media's the “Sound of Ideas” and the “Sound of Ideas Reporters Roundtable.”