Jury convicts former Cincinnati Council member Sittenfeld of bribery and attempted extortion
CINCINNATI - A U.S. District Court jury here found former Cincinnati City Council member P.G. Sittenfeld, 37, of Cincinnati, guilty of accepting $40,000 in campaign contributions in exchange for votes on a development project pending before the council.
The jury returned guilty verdicts on one count of bribery (up to 10 years) and one count of attempted extortion by a government official (up to 20 years).
Testimony in the trial which began June 21 included audio and video recordings of Sittenfeld telling undercover agents posing as developers that he could “deliver the votes” in exchange for contributions to a political action committee he controlled. He accepted eight $5,000 checks in 2018 and 2019. A federal grand jury indicted him in November 2020.
“We truly appreciate the jurors’ time and serious consideration of this matter,” said Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. “Democracy requires politicians to uphold their oath with the highest standards of integrity and respect. In this case, we worked alongside the FBI to hold Mr. Sittenfeld accountable for abusing his oath and, ultimately, the trust that the citizens of Cincinnati placed in him.”
“When elected officials choose to commit illegal acts, they greatly damage the relationship between government and the public they were elected to serve,” stated FBI Cincinnati Special Agent in Charge J. William Rivers. “The FBI prioritizes efforts to expose corruption in order to help maintain the integrity of our democracy and the trust citizens have in our government institutions.”
U.S. District Judge Douglas R. Cole will set a date for Sittenfeld’s sentencing.
U.S. Attorney Parker and J. William Rivers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division announced the verdict. Deputy Criminal Chief Emily N. Glatfelter and Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew C. Singer and Megan Gaffney Painter are representing the United States in this case.
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