Officials react to the Larry Householder guilty verdict in federal racketeering trial

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WOSU) — Former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and former GOP state chair Matt Borges were found guilty of corruption in a $60 million nuclear bailout bribery scheme.

The pair were accused in a $61 million pay-to-play scheme to legislation that benefited FirstEnergy. It was referred to as the biggest corruption case in the state’s history.

The jury deliberated for 9 1/2 hours over the course of two days before returning with the guilty verdict.

The verdict sparked reactions from Ohio politicians of both major parties.

Outside the federal courthouse in Cincinnati, the former speaker said he would appeal the decision. He told reporters House Bill 6 which supported the nuclear bailout was “good legislation” and he didn’t agree with the jury’s decision.

David DeVillers, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, who initially sought the racketeering charges in the case said that the ruling sends a message.

Former Ohio Rep. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) applauded the jury’s decision. He said Householder brought this upon himself and the scheme has ruined careers.

Tyler Fehrman, Republican strategist turned FBI informant needed just one word to react to the verdict.

Borges threatened to blow up Fehrman’s house if anyone found out about a $15,000 bribe he offered to try to get inside information on a campaign to repeal the nuclear bailout bill.

Ohio House Minority Leader Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) said justice was served, but dark money reforms are needed to prevent future bribery scandals.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s spokesperson Dan Tierney said the governor declined to comment on the verdict. DeWine signed the nuclear bailout bill into law in 2019.