Former House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) has pleaded not guilty in federal court to charge of racketeering. Householder, who was among the most powerful Republican leaders in the state, is accused of taking part in a bribery scheme in exchange for passing a nuclear power plant bailout.
Householder, who is still a member of the Ohio House, appeared in court after several weeks of delay in order to find a new lawyer.
He entered his plea of not guilty, which he told reporters he would do just days ago during a surprise gaggle on the House floor.
"I am innocent, I am going to defend myself vigorously," Householder said on Tuesday.
A utility believed to be FirstEnergy and its subsidiary is accused of pumping millions of dollars into a dark money group. Investigators say Householder used that money for his own personal and political gain.
All the defendants in the case have pleaded not guilty.