The Rundown

COVID-19 delays Householder public corruption trial until Tuesday

By: - January 30, 2023 9:59 am

Larry Householder addresses reporters after lawmakers voted to expel him from the General Assembly. He has pleaded not guilty to a racketeering charge and awaits trial. Photo by Jake Zuckerman, OCJ.

The following article was originally published on and is published in the Ohio Capital Journal under a content-sharing agreement. Unlike other OCJ articles, it is not available for free republication by other news outlets as it is owned by WEWS in Cleveland.

The federal trial of former Speaker of the Ohio House Larry Householder has been postponed until Tuesday after a juror tested positive for COVID-19, according to U.S. District Court.

“I just wanted to let you know that we are continuing the recess for 1 more day,” U.S. District Judge Timothy Black’s law clerk told trial reporters Sunday evening. “We are still waiting on jurors’ test results and want to be sure everyone is feeling well.”

The jurors have not been wearing masks; neither have any of the attorneys.

The trial was originally delayed on Wednesday due to a winter weather advisory, pushing it back until 11 a.m. Before court was set to begin, an advisory was sent out canceling due to a juror being “temporarily unavailable” due to “unforeseen circumstances.” Later that day, the court announced it learned a juror tested positive for COVID and the trial would not reconvene until Monday, Jan. 30 at 9:30 a.m.

FBI case agent Blane Wetzel’s testimony is expected to resume Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.

Householder is accused of accepting a nearly $61 million bribe in exchange for legislation to bail out FirstEnergy, also known as House Bill 6.

The public is beginning to learn how and why FirstEnergy paid millions to the nonprofit Generation Now, which Householder allegedly controlled. The speaker is accused of working with former GOP leader Matt Borges and at least three others to pass a billion-dollar bailout for the struggling nuclear power company. This $1.3 billion bailout led to raised electricity rates and had Ohioans paying for fossil fuel power plants, including one outside the state.

Both men pleaded not guilty.

Householder and Borges were two of five people arrested back in 2020. House operative Jeff Longstreth and lobbyist Juan Cespedes both pleaded guilty in the case. Longtime lobbyist Neil Clark died by suicide in his Florida home after pleading not guilty to racketeering.

Follow WEWS statehouse reporter Morgan Trau on Twitter and Facebook.



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Morgan Trau
Morgan Trau

Morgan Trau is a political reporter and multimedia journalist based out of the WEWS Columbus Bureau. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Trau has previously worked as an investigative, political and fact-checking reporter in Grand Rapids, Mich. at WZZM-TV; a reporter and MMJ in Spokane, Wash. at KREM-TV and has interned at 60 Minutes and worked for CBS Interactive and PBS NewsHour.