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Judge sets 2023 bribery trial date for ex-Ohio speaker

(Supplied/Ohio Republican Party)

CINCINNATI (AP) — A federal judge on Friday set a January 2023 trial date for the former Ohio Houser speaker facing a 2 1/2-year-old racketeering conspiracy charge in an alleged $60 million bribery scheme.

Ex-GOP Speaker Larry Householder is accused of leading the scheme secretly funded by Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. to win legislative approval of a $1 billion bailout of two Ohio nuclear plants. The plants were operated by a wholly-owned FirstEnergy subsidiary when the bailout bill was approved in 2019.

Householder has pleaded not guilty and asked federal Judge Timothy Black to dismiss the July 2020 charge against him, saying prosecutors didn’t provide “essential facts” for an indictment and that the alleged bribes were in fact constitutionally protected campaign contributions. Prosecutors oppose the motion.

Jury selection will begin Jan. 20 and the trial on Jan. 23, Black said in a court order.

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