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Council Member Young Pleads Not Guilty To Tampering With Records

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Sarah Ramsey
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Cincinnati Council Member Wendell Young is pleading not guilty to a tampering with records charge. Young filed the plea in the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Thursday.

Special Prosecutor Patrick Hanley filed the charge two weeks ago, more than a year after being appointed to the case.

The investigation stems from text messages exchanged between Young and four other council members in 2018. The group discussed and made decisions about city business, in violation of Ohio's Sunshine Law.

Hanley says Young further violated the law by deleting some of those text messages.

Young told several local media outlets he deleted the messages before an order not to do so, but after turning them over to the city solicitor's office and seeing them published in the media.

The tampering with records charge carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison. A scheduling hearing is set for May 12.

Three of the five involved in the case remain on council: Chris Seelbach, Greg Landsman and Young. Tamaya Dennard resigned from City Council in March 2019 after being arrested on federal charges of extortion, bribery and wire fraud for allegedly offering to exchange her votes on council for money. P.G. Sittenfeld was suspended in December as he fights federal charges of bribery.

The texting case is not related to separate cases involving bribery and other allegations against Dennard, Sittenfeld and suspended Council Member Jeff Pastor.