Ex-Ohio GOP chairman comments on his corruption arrest for nuclear bailouts

Two defendants indicted in the $ 61 million nuclear bailout law corruption scandal have protested their innocence while others have agreed to enter into deals. One of them is former leader of the Ohio Republican Party, Matt Borges.

On the morning of July 20, 2020, five people were arrested in connection with a huge pay-to-play scandal that was described as “probably the biggest” bribe by then-US Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, David Devillers, Money laundering ever perpetrated against the people of Ohio state ”.

Prosecutors say the plan is related to the comprehensive nuclear power plant rescue act known as House Bill 6.

Last year two of those arrested, Juan Cespedes and Jeff Longstreth, pleaded guilty. Another, Neil Clark, died of suicide. The 501 (c) 4 dark money charity Generation Now entered a plea deal, as did FirstEnergy, which agreed to pay a fine of $ 230 million. But then Ohio House spokesman Republican Larry Householder said he was innocent, despite being ousted from the leadership and expelled from the House of Representatives earlier this year not long after his arrest.

So did the former chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, Matt Borges, although he was quite cautious about blocked tweets and a few interviews.

“I will keep fighting. Whether the people like it or not, ”said Borges in an interview for“ The State of Ohio ”.

Borges said he does not deny that what the federal prosecutor said there was what is the largest corruption scandal in the history of the state. But when asked if he said he wasn’t there, Borges replied: “That is absolutely correct.”

Borges hasn’t commented much, but is now talking about a complaint he filed alleging that federal prosecutors lied about evidence in a meeting last year to get him to plead guilty.

“Something happened that was unfair and we felt it was inappropriate at a meeting where it was very serious about what was going to happen to this case and my life,” said Borges. “They lied about evidence that they said they had, that they now admit they didn’t have. And I filed a complaint about it. ”

A statement released by the acting US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio, Vipal J. Patel, said: “From time to time, accused defendants and their supporters attempt to intimidate our prosecutors by making frivolous legal complaints and lobbies Involve defamation in campaigns or anything else. It doesn’t work. Such intimidation attempts sound hollow and are completely inappropriate. Our federal prosecutors are committed civil servants who act with integrity and professionalism and, above all, do justice to one thing. The unfortunately all too familiar intimidation efforts will not prevent this office from vigorously pursuing them. ”

Borges said he was just trying to fight back.

“I, a single defendant, alone, paying for my own defense. A single person trying to intimidate the US Department of Justice, which has all the US government power they can wield over you, is just a ridiculous kind of comment and not at all what I’m trying to do, “Borges said.

And Borges said he suspects former President Donald Trump, who deposed Borges as party leader in early 2017, had something to do with his arrest last year.

“It makes you believe that the only reason to include me on this issue that I was never involved in was to try to shut down the PAC that Anthony Scaramucci and I and others were working on.” Defeat Trump, “said Borges.

Borges said he wanted to testify in front of the grand jury but was not given the opportunity to do so. No court date was set for either Borges or Householder.

Former U.S. Attorney DeVillers said the pandemic has delayed the process, which typically takes anywhere from nine months to a year from indictment to trial. And he said the investigation is ongoing so additional charges and arrests are possible.
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