Yavorcik calling for dismissal of prosecutor's appeal


CLEVELAND

The attorney for Martin Yavorcik is asking the Ohio Supreme Court to reject an appeal by prosecutors, who want a reversal of a lower court’s decision to vacate Yavorcik’s eight felony convictions in the Oakhill Renaissance Place corruption case.

The 8th District Court of Appeals vacated the convictions on May 10 writing in a 3-0 decision that Cuyahoga County was the wrong place to conduct Yavorcik’s trial.

While Yavorcik didn’t commit crimes in Cuyahoga County, he was part of a conspiracy that included illegal acts there, prosecutors from Cuyahoga County and the Ohio attorney general say.

But in a response, David Doughten, Yavorcik’s attorney, wrote: “The actions here are but a not-so-thinly veiled cover for the real purpose of the venue change, forum shopping. The prosecution relied upon an unfair and unsubstantiated allegation that it could not receive a fair trial in Mahoning County. This was acknowledged at the oral argument of this case in the 8th District Court of Appeals. While not conceding the sufficiency of the venue connection to Cuyahoga County, a motivating factor of the state in seeking a venue change was unquestionably the uneasiness of the prosecutor here to try the case in the county where the alleged corruption occurred.”

Prosecutors say Yavorcik and his co-conspirators received about $700,000 in free legal assistance from Ulmer & Berne, a Cleveland law firm, paid by Anthony Cafaro Sr., the former head of the Cafaro Co.

Doughten wrote that the appellate judges concluded “there was no evidence to support that any part of the conspiracy occurred in Cuyahoga County. Although the state of Ohio argued that a major law firm in Cleveland, Ohio, had committed a crime in furtherance of that conspiracy, not a single partner or associate of the law firm nor the law firm itself was actually charged with a criminal offense.”

Read more on this exclusive Vindicator story in Thursday's paper and digital editions.

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