COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The fraud trial against the former Ohio Speaker of the House is expected to take up to six weeks. However, when that trial will begin is still up in the air.
During a status conference Wednesday, attornies for the United States Department of Justice said it would need between three and four weeks to present its case against Larry Householder, the former Ohio Speaker arrested in July 2020 in a bribery case tied to House Bill 6.
During Wednesday’s conference, both sides said there is still “considerable pretrial litigation and preparation” that needs to happen before the trial can be scheduled.
According to the judge’s order issued after the conference, both sides will agree on dates when the trial can be scheduled and let the court know those dates within the next 30 days.
The former House Speaker is accused of being the ringleader in a $61 million bribery scandal to bail out two nuclear power plants operated by a former subsidiary of FirstEnergy.
Householder and four others allegedly used the energy company money for personal and political use in exchange for passing a legislative bailout of the plants — House Bill 6.
Two other defendants in the case — longtime Householder political advisor Jeffrey Longstreth and lobbyist Juan Cespedes — pled guilty in October 2020 to racketeering conspiracy charges.
The fourth defendant in the case, former Republican Party state chairman Matt Borges, continues to maintain his innocence.
The fifth person charged in the case, lobbyist Neil Clark, died by suicide in March 2021.
FirstEnergy agreed to pay a $230 million fine in connection with the scandal.
Householder was first removed from the Speaker seat in July 2020, and then expelled from the House in June 2021 after winning an uncontested reelection in 2020. He has continued to say he is innocent of all charges.