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Former Councilwoman Tamaya Dennard Pleads Not Guilty To Federal Charges

Tana Weingartner

Former Cincinnati Councilwoman Tamaya Dennard pleaded not guilty in federal court Monday.Dennard pleaded not guilty to charges of honest services wire fraud, bribery and attempted extortion. The charges include: three counts of honest services wire fraud (up to 20 years in prison); two counts of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds (up to 10 years in prison); and two counts of attempted extortion (up to 20 years in prison).

She remains free on an own recognizance bond. Magistrate Judge Stephanie Bowman oversaw the arraignment. The case will be before Judge Susan Dlott.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment last week.  She wasarrested Feb. 25 and resigned her council seat March 2.

Court documents allege Dennard requested up to $15,000 in exchange for her votes on council items.

In a posting on her Facebook page from March 12, Dennard writes: "You can say what you want about my politics, but I have never attacked one of my former colleagues personally. I've challenged what they have said but not who they are. If anything, I've gone to bat for them or showed support. At the core of social justice is the presumption of innocence. People have heard one side of a situation and sealed my fate."

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Tana Weingartner earned a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in mass communication from Miami University. Most recently, she served as news and public affairs producer with WMUB-FM. Ms. Weingartner has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including several Best Reporter awards from the Associated Press and the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and a regional Murrow Award. She served on the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters Board of Directors from 2007 - 2009.