CLEVELAND (AP) — The prosecution and defense are ready to present final arguments at the federal trial of a northeast Ohio telemarketing millionaire accused of illegally funneling campaign contributions to two prominent Republican politicians.
The case could go to the jury in Cleveland later Thursday.
Seventy-two-year-old Ben Suarez is accused of using employees, relatives and others to donate $100,000 each to U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci’s (reh-NAY’-seez) 2012 congressional campaign and state Treasurer Josh Mandel’s (man-DEHLZ’) failed U.S. Senate bid.
Suarez faces eight counts related to those allegations.
The judge dismissed two obstruction charges, ruling that there was insufficient evidence for the jury to consider those counts.
Attorneys for the North Canton businessman have said in court that he reimbursed the contributors but didn’t know it was illegal and shouldn’t be found guilty.