Jeff Pastor trial date pushed back due to ‘voluminous discovery,’ surge in COVID-19 cases

Councilman Jeff Pastor rode along with a District 3 officer Thursday and came into Friday's...
Councilman Jeff Pastor rode along with a District 3 officer Thursday and came into Friday's meeting with that perspective. (Photo: CitiCable)
Updated: Dec. 7, 2020 at 11:55 AM EST
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The January trial date for suspended Cincinnati City Councilman Jeff Pastor on federal corruption-related charges has been postponed at the request of his lawyer and the attorney representing his business partner, who also faces charges, court documents show.

“In order to permit adequate time to review the voluminous discovery in this case, and due to the difficulties created by the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Ohio and nationwide, Defendants’ counsel jointly requested a continuance of this matter. The Government did not object to the request,” the records state.

“Having been so advised and for good cause shown, the Court vacated the trial date previously set for January 11, 2021 and converted the final pretrial conference set for January 4, 2021 at 3:00pm to a telephonic status conference.”

Federal officials didn’t object to the request, and U.S. District Court Judge Matthew McFarland has approved it.

Pastor was accused in an indictment last month of bribery, extortion, wire fraud, money laundering and other crimes related to his role on council.

Federal authorities say he was only six months into his first term before he sought his first bribe.

He’s accused of soliciting and received $55,000 in bribes between August 2018 and February 2019 in exchange for favorable action on development projects City Council was considering.

If Pastor is convicted on all charges, he faces up to 90 years in prison.

The Republican, 37, has pleaded not guilty and remains free on his own recognizance.

Federal officials also allege Pastor’s business partner, Tyran Marshall, 35, acted as a middleman in receiving bribes payments.

Marshall is charged with conspiring to commit wire fraud, bribery, attempted extortion and money laundering.

Pastor’s attorney, Ben Dusing, has said Pastor will fight the charges and suggested Pastor may have evidence of his own showing entrapment.

A third of the nine-member council has been indicted this year by federal authorities amid an investigation into what they have repeatedly described as a “culture of corruption.”

Democrat Tamaya Dennard, 41, resigned in March and recently received a sentence of 18 months in prison for a wire fraud charge.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she won’t report to prison until March 1, 2021. Her sentence will be carried out at an all-women federal facility in West Virginia.

She also will pay a $15,000 money judgment against her and be under supervised for three years once the prison sentence is over.

Originally, Dennard faced more charges than just wire fraud but bribery and attempted extortion counts were dropped.

She was arrested in February and has admitted to selling her vote for money.

P.G. Sittenfeld was indicted last month two counts of honest services wire fraud, two counts of bribery and two counts of attempted extortion by a government official.

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The 36-year-old Democrat was considered by many the front runner in the 2021 mayor’s race before his arrest.

He has pleaded not guilty and is free on his own recognizance.

Both Pastor and Sittenfeld have agreed to voluntary suspensions from council.

Federal prosecutors have said former Cincinnati Bengals defensive back Chinedum Ndukwe, who is now a developer, agreed to help with their investigation as a witness and an FBI informant in both Pastor and Sittenfeld’s cases, federal officials have said.

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