15 September 2006

Plea Agreement Rejected in Workers Comp Scandal

Two investment brokers accused of bribing a former state workers' compensation official have rejected plea deals offered by federal prosecutors.

The charges against O'Neil and broker Michael Lewis are part of a yearlong political scandal that has shaken the state's Republican-dominated government.

O'Neil, 54, of Chesterland, and Lewis, 71, of Willoughby, have pleaded not guilty to federal charges that they bribed Terrence Gasper, the former chief financial officer of the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation.

Gasper pleaded guilty in June to federal and state charges that he accepted bribes in exchange for doling out agency business. He's expected to testify against O'Neil and Lewis.


The decision to go to trial seems odd. It's not as if the case against them is thin. I'm not an attorney but the only rationale I can think of is that the defendants believe the law and the spirit of the law are two totally different things. And they're hoping a jury of their peers will believe the same thing.

"I did not have fiscal relations with that man, Mr. Gasper..."

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