COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A federal appeals court ruled a former Columbus City Hall lobbyist must be resentenced.
John Raphael faced up to 20 years in prison for accepting bribes, but U.S. District Judge Michael Watson sentenced him to just one day and then suspended that sentence, leaving Raphael to pay a fine, be placed on probation, and face 18 months of house arrest.
The appeal court order requires Watson to not only resentence Raphael but also explain how he arrived at the new sentence if it deviates from federal guidelines.
Raphael pleaded guilty to one count of honest services wire fraud in a 2014 bribery scheme where he was paid a $40,000 “success fee” for netting a catering company he was a consultant for land the concessions contract for the Greater Columbus Convention Center, for which he was also serving as a consultant.
Raphael had previously pleaded guilty in 2016 in the city’s 2015 red light camera scandal, wherein Raphael falsified campaign contribution documents to Columbus and Cincinnati elected officials with the goal of those officials choosing Redflex for red light camera contracts. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison for that plea.
The U.S. District Court’s ruling can be read below.