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FBI paid informant Chinedum Ndukwe $27K to wear wire at City Hall for 18 months

PG Sittenfeld, as seen from behind, walks up the steps to The Potter Stewart Federal Court Building on the first day of his corruption trial Tuesday, June 21, 2022.
Jason Whitman
Former Cincinnati City Council member, P.G. Sittenfeld, is seen entering the Potter Stewart Federal Court Building as jury selection begins for his trial Tuesday, June 21, 2022. Sittenfeld is accused of illegally trading city council votes for campaign donations.

After listening to nearly three hours of opening statements in the public corruption trial of P.G. Sittenfeld, at least one juror appeared to be nodding off in the jury box as attorneys described the inner workings of Cincinnati City Hall, campaign fundraising and development deals.

Both sides outlined their cases and described what jurors will hear during the two-week trial at U.S. District Court in Cincinnati.

“This case is about an ambitious politician who betrayed his service and the citizens he was elected to serve,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Glatfelter. “The defendant broke the law and because of what he did, he’s guilty as charged.”

But Sittenfeld’s attorney, Charlie M. Rittgers, said context is important in this case because, “partial truth is no truth at all.”

Sittenfeld, who has maintained his innocence, was a rising political star and the front-runner to be the next mayor of Cincinnati before FBI agents arrested him in November 2020 for allegedly promising support and “official acts,” to help the development of Convention Place downtown in exchange for $40,000 in campaign donations.

He faces six charges related to public corruption, including bribery and attempted extortion, and could be sentenced to five to six years in prison if convicted.

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Paula Christian is an investigative reporter at WCPO Channel 9 and has been since 2015. She's also worked at the Cincinnati Business Courier, Tampa Tribune, Winston-Salem Journal, Greensboro News & Record as a staff writer, and numerous other publications throughout Ohio as a freelance journalist. A graduate of Syracuse University in New York, she is most proud of her work that holds government officials accountable, such as watching where taxpayer dollars are spent and bringing the public inside important court proceedings.
WCPO-TV is a news partner of Cincinnati Public Radio.