Marchionda, Bozanich to Be Tried Separately, Judge Rules

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Real estate developer Dominic Marchionda and former Youngstown finance director David Bozanich will be tried separately on corruption charges in a 101-count indictment. 

Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge Maureen Sweeney severed the two trials in an order signed March 19 and filed Thursday. She will determine the order of the trials during a pretrial hearing scheduled for May 5. 

Marchionda, Bozanich and former Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone were charged in the indictment handed down in August 2018 related to city funds Marchionda allegedly misused. 

Last month, Sammarone, who had succeeded in getting court approval for a separate trial, pleaded guilty to two counts of tampering with records. Bozanich and Marchionda were scheduled to go on trial June 1. 

Following a series of hearings about a month ago, Sweeney sustained a motion by Marchionda’s legal counsel to suppress evidence obtained from attorney Stephen Garea, who performed work for both Bozanich and Marchionda and had five proffer agreements with state investigators. 

In the March 19 entry, Sweeney said the court was required to consider each defendant’s constitutional rights and that any testimony offered by witness Stephen Garea against Bozanich would be unfairly prejudicial to Marchionda. 

“The fact that attorney Garea’s proffers speak to work he performed for both defendant Marchionda et al as his attorney and work he performed for defendant Bozanich is troublesome,” she said. 

The court previously held the attorney-client privilege hasn’t been breached under the crime-fraud exemption so any testimony Garea would offer at the trial would be unfairly prejudicial to Marchionda.

In the entry, Sweeney also denied Marchionda’s motion to dismiss four of the charges against him: three counts of theft and one of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. The judge said dismissal wasn’t appropriate at this time. 

“The court will allow the state to present its case-in-chief and then during a Criminal Rule 29 motion listen to arguments on why the count should or should not be dismissed,” Sweeney wrote. 

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.