Auditor Sciortino issues statement about controversial traffic s - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

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Auditor Sciortino issues statement about controversial traffic stop

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - After weeks of silence, Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino is finally responding to his controversial traffic stop by Mahoning County Sheriff deputies.

The May 26 traffic stop in Canfield Township, called into question whether Auditor Sciortino was allegedly drinking and driving or somehow impaired.

21 News has learned that Sheriff Jerry Greene has decided to seek the opinion of the Attorney General to determine if the Sciortino should face a criminal OVI charge.

The Mahoning County Sheriff met with Prosecutor Paul Gains and they have decided to forward the findings of the internal investigation to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, seeking his opinion on whether a criminal charge is warranted in the matter.

"Prosecutor Gains' conclusion, and I agree with him, is that we're going to ask the attorney general to take a look at this and see if there's any criminal charges, if any need to be pursued," says DeWine.

In a three paragraph statement, Sciortino apologizes for what has transpired as a result of that traffic stop.

The detailed 21-page report says workers at the Wendy's Restaurant on Boardman-Canfield Road called 911 because they believed there was an intoxicated man in the drive-thru and he was sleeping.

Those restaurant workers say they did not smell any alcohol.

When a sheriff's deputy caught up with Sciortino, he also says he did not smell any alcohol and he noticed an EKG (Electro-cardiogram) printout on the middle console of Sciortino's console in the car.

Sergeant James Touville says Sciortino voluntarily complied with the standardized field sobriety test, and at no time did he state that he had any medical problems that would prohibit him in performing the test.

Touville is quoted in the report saying Sciortino failed the test miserably, and while he initially didn't admit drinking any alcohol, a few minutes later he said he had one or two drinks.

T.J. Assion has since been demoted from his position at the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department administration as a commander, back to his rank of sergeant, and that includes a $19,000 pay cut.

It was determined that Assion un-arrested Sciortino after he had already been arrested for Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence. Assion took Sciortino home, and the auditor paid a $130 fine for a marked lanes violation citation instead.

Assion posted an apology on Facebook around 8:00 Tuesday night saying:

"I want to apologize to my family and to my friends for any shame or embarrassment I have caused you. This is not what I intended or what I wanted and I'm very sorry."

Auditor Sciortino says, "I am deeply regretful for the unfortunate circumstances that evening. I know that I let myself, family, friends, supporters and office down, and for that I am sorry. I have nothing but remorse for the pain I have caused the officers who have been disciplined over my traffic stop. To them and their families, I am sorry."

21 News has learned that the Ohio Attorney General's Office has agreed to review the circumstances of the traffic stop.

Part of the investigation made mention that agents from the Youngstown FBI also interviewed auditor Sciortino regarding the traffic stop.

21 News has put in a request through the Freedom of Information Act to retrieve those documents.

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