Judge rejects P.G. Sittenfeld’s request for new trial
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A federal judge on Monday rejected former Cincinnati City Council member P.G. Sittenfeld’s request to throw out his felony convictions of bribery and attempted extortion.
U.S. District Judge Douglas Cole also denied Sittenfeld’s motion for a new trial.
Sittenfeld failed to present “any persuasive arguments” supporting either motion, the judge wrote in his 26-page order.
It was issued more than four months after the judge held a hearing back in December so Sittenfeld’s attorneys and federal prosecutors could both give oral arguments.
The 39-year-old East Price Hill resident now faces up to 10 years in jail for the bribery conviction and up to 20 years for the attempted extortion conviction, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Parker said last summer when Sittenfeld was convicted.
It’s not clear when he will be sentenced but Monday’s decision clears the way for that process to begin.
The former politician previously rejected a plea deal that would have limited his punishment if found guilty to probation only to two years or less in prison, court records show.
Sittenfeld has insisted since the day he was indicted in November 2020 that all allegations were false.
But a jury found him guilty of the two public corruption charges in July 2022 following a two-and-a-half-week trial.
He was indicted on six total charges. The jury acquitted him on four of them: two counts of honest services wire fraud and one count each of bribery and extortion.
Sittenfeld was accused of promising to support, perform “official acts,” and “deliver the votes” to help the development of a property with sports betting at 435 Elm Street across from the Duke Energy Convention Center in Downtown Cincinnati in exchange for $40,000 in donations to his political action fund (PAC), federal court records show.
Sittenfeld’s indictment says he solicited the money in exchange for his support to develop the Elm Street property, which former Cincinnati Bengals player turned developer, Chinedum Ndukwe, envisioned as a hotel and office complex with apartments and a restaurant.
Sittenfeld’s attorneys have repeatedly said his indictment actually proved he did not commit a quid pro quo.
He has always been pro-development, his actions are all perfectly legal and this is typical business conducted by politicians, according to his defense.
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