Attorneys in Oakhill corruption case accuse prosecutors of makin - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Attorneys in Oakhill corruption case accuse prosecutors of making 'false' statements

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

Attorneys for 2 defendants in the Oakhill public corruption case are accusing prosecutors of making false statements.

Lawyers for Youngstown Mayor John McNally and former Mahoning County Auditor Mike Sciortino say statements made to the media by Dan Tierney, spokesperson for the Attorney General's Office, regarding their defense strategy are not correct. 

Part of the statement from the attorneys reads: "Mr. McNally and Mr. Sciortino do not want a continuance, they simply want the procedures employed for this trial to be fair."

McNally, Sciortino and attorney Martin Yavorcik are accused of allegedly trying to block Mahoning County's purchase of the Oakhill Renaissance building. 

The trial is set to begin in Cleveland, February 29th.

Here is the full statement:

The Oakhill trial approaches at the end of this month. Counsel for Mr. McNally and Mr. Sciortino continue to file motions on behalf of their clients to ensure that the proceedings are conducted in accordance with the rules and the law. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has chosen to respond to recent defense filings by trying to ascribe some improper motive to the filings. This has been a routine practice from the Ohio Attorney General's Office throughout this case. The Code of Professional Conduct governs pretrial comments on pending cases. The Rules apply to all offices that employ
lawyers; public and private sector alike. The Rules do not permit attorneys to comment upon opposing counsel's motives, thought processes, or approach to defending a case. Fortunately, the Rules do permit counsel to respond to public comments which are prejudicial. Continually proscribing improper motives to the defense filings and to defense counsel can be done for no other purpose than to prejudice the proceedings.

Mr. McNally and Mr. Sciortino do not want a continuance, they simply want the procedures employed for this trial to be fair. The defense has provided discovery and a witness list to the State. The defense has no burden at trial, only the State has the burden of proof. It logically follows that what the defense intends to use at trial and who the defense intends to call depends upon what the State presents. As the State continues to make disclosures of evidence and witnesses, the defense will respond and supplement their responses. Mr. Tierney, spokesperson for the Attorney General's Office has again made public comments that are not correct. The defense is not trying to delay this trial and the defense has provided discovery to the State.

In the last 90 days the State of Ohio has produced additional discovery of over 4,000 pages of records and nearly 400 computer discs. Much of the supplemental discovery has been in the government's possession for well over 5 years. The State has amended the witness list 3 times, recently adding an additional 9 witnesses never previously disclosed. It would indeed appear as though someone is trying to force a continuance. It is not the defense.

Lynn Maro, counsel for John McNally
John B. Juhasz, counsel for Michael Sciortino
 

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