Former Ohio House speaker testifies in his federal racketeering trial over nuclear plant bailout
A high point in the federal racketeering trial of Republican former Ohio House speaker Larry Householder and ex-Ohio GOP chair Matt Borges, as Householder took the stand in his defense. He’s defending himself in what prosecutors say was a $61 million bribery scheme to pass a nuclear power plant bailout law for FirstEnergy.
Householder told jurors he was the underdog when he first ran for office, and that he met FirstEnergy CEO Chuck Jones at a 2016 World Series game in Cleveland.
He contradicted testimony from his political strategist Jeff Longstreth that he was heavily involved with the campaign surrounding the bailout law and said he didn’t meet with FirstEnergy executives on a trip to former President Trump’s inauguration. Householder said the trip to DC was a family trip, though he did fly in FirstEnergy's jet to the event.
Householder said he wasn't heavily involved with the dark money group Generation Now, which prosecutors have said took money from FirstEnergy to support candidates who would back Householder for speaker.
And Householder said FirstEnergy’s contributions didn’t influence his decision to push a nuclear power plant bailout bill, and says he didn’t threaten anyone or pressure the candidates he supported through a dark money group tied to Longstreth to vote for him for speaker.
Householder said though he said he was looking for political allies – friends who he called “casket carriers”.
Testimony continues on Thursday with Householder on the stand.