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Prosecutor brings up the past



Published: Fri, February 18, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The sheriff was not called to the witness stand by the defense.

CLEVELAND -- Accusations at Maj. Michael Budd's trial Thursday didn't stop with the original federal charges of using and ordering excessive force on jail inmates and obstruction of justice.

In cross-examination, federal prosecutor Steven Dettlebach asked Budd if he admitted to a series of offenses in a background interview conducted when he was hired at the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department, including:

*Taking up to $100,000 in merchandise from an employer.

*Taking something from a person who was drunk.

*Taking material from a job site for personal gain.

*Taking property from an unattended vehicle.

*Accepting stolen merchandise.

"[Weren't there] numerous occasions where you have been dishonest?" Dettlebach asked.

"No," Budd said, denying he made those admissions.

He also denied that he once asked an agent with the FBI to see secret materials for a grand jury.

Dettlebach asked Budd if he told the agent, "Hey just leave it out on your desk tonight," after the agent told Budd he legally was not allowed to see it.

Budd said he didn't.

No comment

Attorneys declined to comment on the allegations. The trial will continue Tuesday with exhibits and closing arguments.

Mahoning County Sheriff Randall A. Wellington was not called to the witness stand although defense attorney Martin E. Yavorcik had listed Wellington as a witness in a brief he filed before the trial.

"We decided not to call him," Yavorcik said, declining further comment until after the jury reaches a decision.

Budd and other witnesses referred to Wellington often, specifically in connection with Budd's obstruction of justice charges. Witnesses from both sides say Wellington forwarded Budd a letter that implicated Budd in the beating of a jail inmate. Prosecutors say Budd withheld the letter from the FBI. Budd said he returned all documents on the beating to Wellington before the FBI opened its investigation.




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