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Ohio AG: death of key figure in House Bill 6 corruption scandal doesn't stop state's case

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost speaks during an election night watch party.
Jay LaPrete
/
AP
Ohio Republican Attorney General Dave Yost speaks during an election night watch party, Nov. 8, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio.

The state of Ohio’s investigation into the House Bill 6 nuclear power plant corruption scandal continues, in spite of the death of one of the key figures in the case in what’s being called a suspected suicide.

Attorney General Dave Yost said he was "shocked, like everybody else" to hear that former public utilities commission chair Sam Randazzo had apparently died by suicide on Tuesday.

Randazzo was accused of accepting a $4.3 million bribe from FirstEnergy, a subsidiary of which owned Ohio’s two nuclear plants.

Yost filed state charges against Randazzo and former FirstEnergy executives Chuck Jones and Michael Dowling in Summit County in February. Yost said he doesn't think Randazzo's death affects the state's case.

“Both federal and state prosecutors are doing their jobs. Tragic outcome. But nobody bears responsibility for his actions except him," Yost said.

Randazzo had pleaded not guilty to those state charges in February, as did Jones and Dowling. Randazzo also entered a not guilty plea in federal court in Cincinnati in December. Randazzo had sought to have that trial moved to Columbus, with his lawyers citiing his health issues and the difficulty of either driving each day to Cincinnati or staying there for the duration of the trial, since his assets were frozen by the state. The judge denied that request last week.

Yost said the state's case will continue: “Our case will move forward. We're not dismissing any charges. We're not dismissing any defendants."

And Yost said the freeze on around $8 million in Randazzo’s assets also stays in place.

Contact Karen at 614-578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.