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Former State Lawmaker Sentenced To Prison For Bribery

Franklin County Judge Mark Serrott sentenced former Columbus legislator Carlton Weddington to three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to bribery, filing a fraudulent financial statement and election falsification. Weddington is scheduled to report to prison in August. Weddington’s attorney, Karl Schneider said, Weddington is disheartened. “But he recognized he made some errors in judgment and he’s extremely remorseful about that and wanted to move on.â€? Weddington accepted $5,000 in cash and trips to Napa Valley, California and South Beach, Florida. Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said undercover FBI agents investigating Weddington posed as wine merchants looking for favorable treatment on imports into Ohio. “Mr. Weddington actually went so far as to refer some legislation and put in legislative form a bill to accomplish that and send it to the legislative service commission," O'Briend said. Weddington can apply for early release in two years following the mandatory bribery sentence. The judge stipulated Weddington would have to agree to community service and speak to organizations regarding his violation of public trust. Schneider expects Weddington likely will be amenable to those conditions. “I’m certain Carlton would view that as something that he would do and he would willingly do. And for that matter might even relish doing that.â€? Weddington was the first Ohio lawmaker in 100 years to be charged with bribery. O’Brien said Weddington has been cooperative during the investigation. And O'Brien expects to file additional charges against others stemming from the investigation.