Cincinnati Councilman Jeff Pastor was arrested and accused this week of creating a pay-to-play scheme that yielded him $55,000 in bribes over the course of about a year. Some public officials have called for his resignation, but his defense Attorney Benjamin Dusing said Friday that those calls are hasty.
"My message is, let's all catch our breath, let's be sober-minded about it," he said. "Let's understand that the process ... is designed to apply the facts to the law and obtain a just result."
During a press conference Tuesday, David DeVillers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, said the indictment against Pastor showed a "culture of corruption" where he sold his votes for money.
Pastor did not appear at any public meetings this week, including a City Council meeting. But Dusing said not showing up to a meeting isn't a sign that Pastor is not continuing to serve the public.
"He is committed to doing the right thing. It's been somewhat of a hectic pace here and he's certainly— he's deliberating as to what the right thing to do is here," Dusing said.
The attorney also said he has not seen any evidence in the case. Officials said they have text messages, emails and other evidence against Pastor, but Dusing said that doesn't mean it's proof that a crime happened.
Pastor is charged with honest services wire fraud, bribery, attempted extortion by a government official and money laundering. He's the second city council member to face criminal charges this year.