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Saadey pleads guilty to gun charge



Published: Sat, September 21, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



On Monday, the defendant changed his plea; trial had been set for Sept. 30.

By PATRICIA MEADE

VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Russell J. Saadey, convicted last October of being a case-fixing middleman, has pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Saadey, 47, of Austintown, pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court. Judge Peter C. Economus set sentencing for Oct. 24.

Saadey faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine.

A grand jury had indicted Saadey on June 18. His trial had been set for Sept. 30, but a change of plea was filed with the court Monday.

The gun charge followed a fight April 21 between Saadey and his wife, Joy, at their Austintown home. During the fight, Saadey grabbed a .38-caliber revolver and had to be restrained by other family members.

A domestic violence charge was eventually dismissed after his wife told a county judge she would not testify.

On April 19, Saadey received a 55-month federal prison sentence. U.S. District Judge Kathleen M. O'Malley allowed Saadey to remain free on bond pending notification from the Bureau of Prison where to report.

After the domestic disturbance, Judge Wells revoked Saadey's bond. He has been in federal custody since then.

At sentencing in April, Thomas J. Gruscinski, an assistant U.S. attorney, had asked Judge O'Malley to increase the standard sentence of 41 to 51 months to 46 to 57 months.

Gruscinski said Saadey was one of the few involved in Mahoning County corruption cases who failed to accept responsibility.

Background

In the mid-1990s, Saadey served as an investigator for James A. Philomena, county prosecutor at the time. Philomena, also serving a federal prison sentence, testified against Saadey at trial last October.

Gruscinski said Saadey took an active role in case-fixing negotiations. What Saadey did, the prosecutor said, undermined public confidence in the judicial system.

Judge O'Malley rejected a request by one of Saadey's lawyers, David J. Betras, to sentence at the low end. Betras said Saadey simply delivered bribes, allegedly, and had no leadership role.

Betras asked for mercy, saying Saadey's conviction has ripped his family apart.

meade@vindy.com




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