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Judge won't dismiss Sittenfeld's charges, so case goes to jury

PG sittenfeld, in a gray suit and blue tie with a messenger bag on his shoulder, enters the Potter Stewart Federal Court Building on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, with a young woman in a printed wrap dress by his side.
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 on Tuesday, June 21, 2022. Sittenfeld is accused of illegally trading city council votes for campaign donations.

Prosecutors rested their case against former Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld on Wednesday, and the judge refused to dismiss any of the six public corruption charges against him. This means jurors will determine the fate of Cincinnati’s once-rising political star likely sometime next week.

The prosecution’s last two witnesses delivered the most explosive testimony of the trial so far: well-known Democratic political strategist Jared Kamrass; and Laura Brunner, CEO of The Port Authority of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority.

Kamrass testified that Sittenfeld kept a list of every person who scheduled an appointment at his City Hall office, had an ongoing contract with the city or hoped to bid for city jobs, so that he could ask them for campaign donations. He knew them as “transactional donors,” Kamrass testified.

Kamrass was treasurer of Sittenfeld’s PAC, which is at the heart of this case, and he testified that his client "micromanaged" fundraising, and asked each day if the mail had brought in any new campaign donation checks.

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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.