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Defendants Plead 'Not Guilty' To Racketeering Charges In Corruption Investigation

Matt Borges leaves federal court
Andy Chow
Matt Borges, FirstEnergy lobbyist and former chair of the Ohio Republican Party, walks out of federal court after an initial appearance on July 21.

Four major players in Ohio's capital have pleaded not guilty to federal racketeering charges. They're accused of being part of a bribery scheme that pushed for the passage and defense of the nuclear power plant bailout.

Former House Speaker and current Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) was granted a delay in his federal court arraignment to find a new lawyer. But former Ohio GOP chair Matt Borges, lobbyists Neil Clark and Juan Cespedes, and Householder adviser Jeff Longstreth all pleaded "not guilty."

They're accused of playing a role in an alleged scheme that funneled money from a utility company believed to be FirstEnergy and its subsidiary to benefit Householder politically and personally.  

The end goal, according to the investigation, was to pass last year’s nuclear power plant bailout, HB6, which included other legislative priorities for the utility company. 

Householder's arraignment will be held in two weeks. 

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