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Government/Politics

Householder Pleads Not Guilty To Federal Racketeering Charge

House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) walks out of the federal courthouse in Columbus, after making an initial appearance by video. He was arrested Tuesday, as were former Ohio GOP Chair Matt Borges, Householder's advisor and two lobbyists.
Andy Chow
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Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford), former House Speaker

Former House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) has pleaded not guilty in federal court to charge of racketeering. Householder, who was among the most powerful Republican leaders in the state, is accused of taking part in a bribery scheme in exchange for passing a nuclear power plant bailout.

Householder, who is still a member of the Ohio House, appeared in court after several weeks of delay in order to find a new lawyer. 

He entered his plea of not guilty, which he told reporters he would do just days ago during a surprise gaggle on the House floor. 

"I am innocent, I am going to defend myself vigorously," Householder said on Tuesday.  

A utility believed to be FirstEnergy and its subsidiary is accused of pumping millions of dollars into a dark money group. Investigators say Householder used that money for his own personal and political gain. 

All the defendants in the case have pleaded not guilty. 

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