The Ohio House Speaker in the United States was removed from office a year after he was accused of accepting $ 60 million in bribes in exchange for helping an energy company. The New York Times reports.
Republican lawmaker Larry Householder was expelled from the Ohio House of Representatives by 75 votes to 21. It was the first time that an Ohio lawmaker had been expelled from the Legislature since 1857.
Some Republicans argued that the House did not have the authority to oust him without holding a formal impeachment trial.
In addition, Householder’s defenders argued that this historic step went against the US constitutional principle to treat people as innocent until proven guilty.
Householder was charged last July with pushing a $ 1.3 billion bill to subsidize two troubled nuclear power plants in exchange for bribes to fund his 2018 election campaign.
It was «the largest bribery and money laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people of the state of Ohio,» Ohio Southern District Attorney David M. DeWillers said.
The investigation into the politician is ongoing. At the same time, no trial date has been set.
For his part, Householder pleaded not guilty.
– We look forward to the opportunity to challenge the government’s evidence at trial and are confident the outcome will result in a complete acquittal, – Householder’s lawyer, Stephen L. Bradley, said.
Householder was a member of the House of Representatives from 1997 to 2004 and speaker from 2001 to 2004. In 2004, he resigned from office amid news reports of corruption, but the government closed his case without charges. He won his House seat back in the fall of 2016 and was elected speaker again in January 2019.