Sammarone’s Motion to Dismiss Count Overruled by Judge

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge Maureen Sweeney overruled a motion by former Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone to dismiss one of the counts in his March 16 criminal trial. 

In a judgment entry filed Monday, Sweeney wrote that the motion by Sammarone’s attorney, John Shultz, “was not appropriate to rule on at this time” but said Sammarone would be permitted to raise the issue.    

Sammarone, who served as Youngstown’s mayor from August 2011 to December 2013, faces 14 charges including bribery, records tampering, falsification and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity stemming from a 101-count indictment handed down Aug. 30, 2018. 

Downtown developer Dominic Marchionda and former city finance director David Bozanich were charged in the same indictment. Shultz succeeded in getting Sammarone a separate trial from Bozanich and Marchionda, whose cases are set to go to trial June 1.

Sammarone, through his attorney, sought to dismiss the count alleging that he had engaged in a pattern of corrupt activity, a count in which Bozanich, Marchionda and several of Marchionda’s companies were also charged.

Because a common purpose is a required element and because the court ordered Sammarone’s motion for relief from prejudicial joinder to Sammarone and Bozanich, Shultz argued the court “was of the opinion” that Sammarone wasn’t involved in Marchionda’s and Bozanich’s corrupt activities and the count should be dismissed. 

Sweeney rejected that argument in her judgment entry. 

“The Defendant is mistaken,” she wrote. 

Previously, the court granted Sammarone’s motion for relief from prejudicial joinder “so as not to prejudice the Defendant from being associated with the other multiple offenses alleged against the other Defendants in which he is not charged” but “did not absolve [Sammarone] of any conspiracy or affiliation with the other Defendants.” 

Sweeney also rejected the argument that the count is duplicitous, an argument she said fails because of the successful motion for relief from joinder. 

While Sammarone “argues that he could be convicted without a unanimous jury, he fails to consider that the only evidence that will be produced at his trial is evidence that involves his alleged actions,” and the state “had the burden of proof to show [Sammarone] engaged in activity related to activities of his other former Defendants.” 

In the entry explaining her decision to not rule on the motion, Sweeney said it was incumbent on the state to establish the commission of two or more offenses, that the offenses were related to the affairs or the same “enterprise” and that they were so related that they could be interpreted as a single offense.

Pictured: Former Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone

Related coverage

Jan. 31, 2020: Marchionda Pre-Trial Hearing to Continue Feb. 12
Jan. 24, 2020: At Hearing, Beshara Admits to $20K Payment to Bozanich
Sept. 10, 2019: Briya Pleads Guilty, Will Repay MS Consultants $200K
Oct. 5, 2018: B&B Amends Fraud Complaint Against Former President
Aug. 30, 2018: Sammarone, Bozanich Indicted in Marchionda Probe
Dec. 29, 2017: Prosecutors Add Details in Marchionda Case

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