Attorneys for Youngstown Mayor John A. McNally and Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino, who are facing political corruption charges, filed a motion asking for transcribed minutes of the grand jury that indicted their clients for review.
The issue is errors in the original indictment that mixed up two unidentified Cleveland-based law firms in three of the criminal counts against McNally and Sciortino, both Democrats. The two, along with attorney Martin Yavorcik, an independent, are charged with a total of 83 criminal counts, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, conspiracy, bribery, money laundering and tampering with records.
In a late Thursday motion filed with the clerk of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, where the case is being heard, Lynn Maro, McNally’s attorney, and John B. Juhasz, Sciortino’s attorney, said a transcript is needed to ensure the “indictment is truly a product of grand jury presentment.”
The mistakes may be legitimate or the indictment may be what the grand jury found, which would bind prosecutors to try the case based on that document, they wrote.
“One tool will answer the question easily, accurately and constitutionally: an in camera review of the grand jury testimony,” they wrote.
In camera is a legal term meaning in private with the judge.
“Obviously, the safest and most prudent procedure which will protest the constitutional rights of the defendant[s] is to disclose the proceedings to the defendant[s], through counsel,” they wrote. “With no disrespect intended, counsel are far more familiar with the case [than] is the court.”
The decision on the request rests with Cuyahoga County Judge Janet R. Burnside, who is overseeing the case.
Read more on the cases and the errors in Saturday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.