CLEVELAND (AP) — Jurors have begun deliberating in the federal court case of a northeast Ohio businessman charged with making illegal campaign contributions to two prominent Republican politicians.
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.
A prosecutor said in closing arguments Thursday that the 72-year-old North Canton businessman bundled the donations hoping the politicians would help with a consumer protection complaint in California.
Defense attorneys said the telemarketing millionaire made a mistake but did not willingly break the law. They also said the government’s star witness, a former top Suarez employee, was innocent despite having taken a plea deal that could lead to a reduced prison sentence.