Republican candidate for Mahoning County Prosecutor Martin Desmond held a news conference Wednesday to outline what he claimed was a violation of duty by prosecutor Paul Gains on a case dating back to 2006. 

The defendant, who was involved in a bar fight that sent a man to the hospital, was charged with felonious assault but agreed to plead guilty to aggravated assault and was sentenced to five years of probation. 

The case was handled by an independent prosecutor after Gains cited a conflict of interest because the defendant was a relative of his second in command. It's something Desmond said Gains did again in 2015 when the defendant filed a motion to have his record expunged. 

In 2018, however, Desmond says Gains did not cite conflict of interest when the defendant went back to court with a motion seeking to withdraw his original guilty plea. 

The judge allowed the motion on grounds that the defendant had not been informed by his defense attorney that his plea would mean the charge was not eligible to be expunged at a later date. 
The victim in the case did not wish to attend the hearing and did not oppose the withdrawal of the plea. Gains says he opposed the ruling.

The prosecutor later reduced the felony charge to a misdemeanor menacing charge.
Desmond says Gains violated his duty by not again citing a conflict of interest and by vacating the defendant's felony charge.

Gains says he was not required to recuse himself. He notes that the defendant had served his probation sentence and did not have any other incidents with the law since 2006. 

In addition, he said the victim from 2006 stated that he did not want anything more to do with the case. 

Gains says he stands on his 24-year record of honesty and integrity as prosecutor.