Lawyers repeat request to review Grand Jury transcript in Oakhil - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Lawyers repeat request to review Grand Jury transcript in Oakhill corruption case

Attorneys for two public officials accused of trying to conceal an alleged conspiracy to keep Mahoning County Commissioners from moving some county offices into the Oakhill Renaissance Place, are again asking a judge to to let them review transcripts of the Grand Jury proceedings that resulted in the indictments handed up against their clients.

Attorneys for Youngstown Mayor John McNally and Mahoning County Auditor Mike Sciortino again filed a motion in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, asking Judge Janet Burnside to order that the minutes of the Grand Jury that indicted them be transcribed, and submitted to the court for a private review.

The motion also asks the judge to deny a request by prosecutors to amend some portions of the original indictment against McNally, Sciortino and attorney Martin Yavorcik. The three face 83 charges alleging that they took part in a criminal enterprise with an unnamed local businessman in connection with the investigation into the purchase of the Oakhill building.

In an amended indictment filed on July 25, the prosecution blames glitches in a computer software program for inadvertently naming "Law Firm 2" as being involved in covert acts, when the indictment should have read "Law Firm 1".

Defense attorneys write in response, "While any computer software has been known to have 'bugs,' a bug that consistently changes the number 1 to the number 2 (and perhaps vice versa) is one that requires serious scrutiny."

Attorneys Lynn Maro and John Juhasz also point out that some proposed amendments call for changes in allegations made in the original indictment.

They pose the question in  their motion, "Did the Grand Jury make these findings, as originally alleged by the prosecution, or did the Grand Jury not so find? The prosecution does not tell us."

Proceedings of a grand jury are generally considered to be secret. However, attorneys Maro and Juhasz propose that only the grand jury minutes will offer insight so see if such evidence was offered to the grand jurors and if grand jurors questioned the evidence. 

The defense motion states, "indictment by a grand jury does not mean grand jurors saying, 'we find a conspiracy, and the prosecutors can fill in the details of who participated and what their participation was when drafting the indictment.'"

Attorneys for the state are expected to have an opportunity to respond to the defense motion before a decision is rendered.

The next hearing in the latest case is scheduled for Monday morning in Cleveland.

Meanwhile, a panel selected by the Ohio Supreme Court is deciding whether or not Michael Sciortino can continue performing his duties as Mahoning County Auditor.

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