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The crucial witness in the corruption conditions versus former Cincinnati metropolis councilmen P.G. Sittenfeld and Jeff Pastor labored with the FBI as he confronted possible expenses for campaign finance regulation violations and “other possible federal crimes,” Sittenfeld’s lawyers say in recently submitted files.
Federal prosecutors have beforehand said local developer and previous Cincinnati Bengal Chinedum Ndukwe cooperated in the cases against Pastor and Sittenfeld due to the fact he was “sick and tired” of metropolis officers looking for dollars in exchange for assist on improvement specials.
Sittenfeld’s demo is scheduled to get started June 21 in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati.
An lawyer for Ndukwe, Scott Croswell, told The Enquirer that at the time Ndukwe agreed to cooperate in the investigation, “he did not confront marketing campaign finance law violations or any other federal crimes.”
“The proof will come out at demo,” Croswell said.
Sittenfeld’s attorneys, he included, were being employing the pretrial submitting to “spin the details to their greatest edge.”
The new data came in a demo temporary Sittenfeld’s attorneys filed late Tuesday. U.S. District Choose Douglas Cole has asked both sides to supply context to the elaborate case as he prepares to rule on a multitude of challenges just before the trial.
The briefs were not owing till May well 27, and federal prosecutors are continue to anticipated to file 1. Sittenfeld’s quick is based on discovery between his attorneys and prosecutors — which is not yet community history but some of which has been described in pretrial filings.
The 30-web site transient provides new insight into Ndukwe’s function in the investigation.
In accordance to Sittenfeld’s attorneys, Ndukwe himself entered into a published “proffer” settlement with federal prosecutors mainly because he faced attainable expenses. That settlement, according to the documents, prohibits prosecutors from utilizing anything at all Ndukwe told investigators, if fees are eventually submitted versus him.
The files say Ndukwe began “working for the government” in March 2018, right after an investigation “revealed his involvement in campaign finance regulation violations…and an assortment of other prospective federal crimes.”
Sittenfeld’s lawyers also say in the paperwork that the FBI “began shelling out Mr. Ndukwe to focus on community officials.”
Former U.S. Lawyer David DeVillers told The Enquirer in late 2020 that Ndukwe was “sick and drained of getting to do this, this pay back-to-play…so he resolved to function with us.”
Sittenfeld and Ndukwe had identified every other for practically a decade when the investigation started. Courtroom paperwork say their marriage “progressed into a friendship” that included conversations of spouse and children and sharing photographs of their newborn children.
Ndukwe also was one particular of Sittenfeld’s most regular and enthusiastic marketing campaign donors, the files say. Amongst 2012 and 2017, Ndukwe and his family members customers donated more than $10,000 to Sittenfeld’s town council campaigns.
What follows in the files are details that have now been shared with the community. Ndukwe, in Oct 2018, identified as Sittenfeld and instructed him he had out-of-town buyers interested in redeveloping 435 Elm St., a blighted Downtown property that Ndukwe hoped to transform into a hotel with a sporting activities-betting procedure.
The out-of-city builders have been truly undercover federal agents. Over the up coming two years, there were being phone phone calls, conferences, functions in penthouse apartments and campaign contributions. This is where by the two sides diverge.
Prosecutors say Sittenfeld acknowledged cash in trade for favorable votes on the undertaking. He faces costs of bribery, honest services wire fraud and attempted extortion.
Sittenfeld’s attorneys say there was nothing at all illegal about the donations.
‘Case entails politics’
“This situation involves politics and campaigning in America. And whether we like it or not, place of work holders may find and accept marketing campaign contributions though creating decisions on votes and legislation — all of which is authorized and fundamental to our agent sort of govt,” his lawyers say in the short.
An lawyer for Sittenfeld declined to comment.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Business office reported “the governing administration will present its proof at demo.”
Pastor faces separate corruption charges. His demo experienced been set to begin this month but was delayed indefinitely immediately after his legal professional, Ben Dusing, disqualified himself just after acquiring his legislation license suspended.
Sittenfeld was indicted in November 2020, which led to him currently being suspended from city council and eventually derailed his political occupation. Sittenfeld was a growing political star and the frontrunner to be elected mayor in 2021.