Large jury pool planned for Ohio mayor’s trial
HILLSBORO, Ohio (AP) — An expanded jury pool will be called for the trial of the mayor of a small Ohio city who’s also a veteran standup comedian.
Attorneys said after a hearing Wednesday that the judge ordered a pool of 100 potential jurors, about double the usual number. Officials anticipate taking extra time to find jurors who haven’t already formed opinions about the case against Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings.
The Republican mayor was indicted in July on four felony counts, including election falsification and theft in office. A trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 7 before retired Summit County Common Pleas Judge Patricia Ann Cosgrove. She was appointed after a local judge recused himself.
The second-term mayor says he’s done nothing wrong other than try to lead the city without the consent of the “established political structure.”
The election falsification charge concerns Hastings’ residency in the city of 6,000 residents, where he has a downtown apartment. Other charges stem from a $500 city fee refund for a building he owned and the alleged use of city trash bins for private debris disposal.
The Times-Gazette of Hillsboro reported Wednesday’s hearing was closed, with Cosgrove participating by telephone. Hastings didn’t attend.
Cosgrove has warned trial participants not to make comments on the case, either to the news media or on social media.
The newspaper reported that potential witnesses include Hastings’ administrative assistants, city officials and other local officials and police.