WCPO: Sittenfeld motion to dismiss high bar to meet, says UC law expert

Headshot of a white man wearing glasses and a blue shirt with suspenders

Don Caster / File photo

Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld continues to battle federal bribery charges with a recent motion filed just before Christmas claiming his actions were not criminal, but representative of his pro-development position for development deals in the city as a council member, reports WCPO.

The news organization reports that Sittenfeld, who agreed to temporarily step down from his position in early December but has maintained his innocence, was indicted by a federal grand jury in November on charges of honest services wire fraud, bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and attempted extortion under color of official right.

Although Sittenfeld’s latest motion asks the federal charges be dropped, arguing the government has failed to charge a genuine crime in his case, that bar will be high to meet, explains Don Caster, assistant professor of clinical law at the University of Cincinnati College of Law and an attorney with the college’s Ohio Innocence Project.

Caster tells WCPO that the federal government doesn’t usually take on cases it can’t win.

"Its success rate is enormously high," he told WCPO. "The federal government tends to only file cases that it has a high degree of confidence that it can win."

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