Mahoning County Auditor pleading to additional charge after cont - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Mahoning County Auditor pleading to additional charge after controversial traffic stop

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino is hoping that pleading guilty to an additional traffic charge will put an end to a controversy that began back in May.

In an email addressed to the local news media, Sciortino says he has agreed to plead guilty to failure to control an automobile, and pay a fine for the misdemeanor citation. The charge is in addition to his June conviction on a charge of failing to drive within marked lanes.

In the email, Sciortino acknowledges that the Ohio Attorney General's Office has completed an investigation that was conducted at the request of Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene and Prosecutor Paul Gains following criticism that Sciortino may have been the recipient of favorable treatment following a May 27 traffic stop in Canfield.

21 News obtained police dash cam video showing a handcuffed Sciortino being led from his vehicle during the arrest.

An earlier investigation conducted by members of the Summit County Sheriff's office found that evidence from witnesses and officers on the scene of the arrest indicated that Sciortino was driving impaired at the time of his arrest, but was only charged with failing to drive within marked lanes and not charged with operating a vehicle under the influence.

Sciortino was then given a ride home by Sheriff's commander T.J. Assion, who indicated to investigators that he believed at the time that Sciortino may have been suffering from some medical issue. However, investigators say neither the arresting officers or Sciortino made any suggestion that Sciortino receive medical attention.

Sheriff Greene has demoted Commander Assion to the rank of Sergeant, and two other deputies were disciplined as a result.

In July, the findings of the internal investigation were forwarded to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, seeking his opinion on whether a criminal charge was warranted in the matter.

Sciortino's email says he entered the plea to bring the matter to a close.

"This plea agreement means that the matter is now closed, and this release
will be my only comment on the issue."
according to Sciortino's email.

21 News made repeated attempts to talk to Sciortino in the weeks following his arrest, but he has been unavailable.

Although an earlier written statement from Sciortino expressed regret for what he termed, "the unfortunate circumstances that evening", the auditor has never addressed the issue of whether or not he was driving impaired on the night of his arrest.

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