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Investigation: Friendship played part in release of Mahoning Auditor

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Michael Sciortino Michael Sciortino
Thomas Assion Thomas Assion

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - There's another piece of the puzzle in place as we learn more about the scandal surrounding the arrest of Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino.

According to investigators with the Summit County Sheriff's department, former Mahoning county Sheriff's Commander Thomas Assion told investigators that when he was called to a traffic stop in Canfield the night of May 26, that Sciortino appeared to be,in Assion's words, "out of it and drunk."

In spite of that, Assion told investigators that he asked the arresting officer to,"Forego the DUI thing" because Sciortino was a "buddy" of Assion.

Instead of being charged with DUI, Sciortino was cited for not driving within marked lanes. Assion drove Sciortino home the night of the arrest.

However, the documents contain discrepancies that don't make it clear whether a suggestion that Sciortino was suffering from a medical problem was made on the night of the arrest, or several days later.

Investigators say Assion told them that, "The suggestion of a medical problem with Sciortino was presented to Commander Assion days after the incident".  But later in the report, the investigators conclude that, "They (deputies) agreed on a decision to cease the normal arrest procedure and subsequently release County Auditor Michael Sciortino because it was deemed to be a medical problem and Commander Thomas J. Assion would take him home."

Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene is on vacation and was not available to  clear up the discrepancy.  The Sheriff designated Major William Cappabianca to answer inquiries about the investigation, however the Major could not explain the discrepancy. 

As a result of the investigation, Assion was demoted and other officers disciplined.

Sciortino has issued a written apology, but has not acknowledged whether of not he was driving impaired that night.

The Ohio Attorney General's Special Prosecution Unit is investigating the circumstances of the incident to determine if there was any criminal wrongdoing.

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