The defense team for a former Warren County politician has asked a Hamilton County Common Pleas judge to acquit their client.
The state of Ohio disagrees with that motion, though the lead prosecutor admits he failed to make the case on one of 39 counts facing Pete Beck.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Dan Kasaris conceded the points made by defense attorney Chad Ziepfel that the prosecution did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt the charges alleged in count 39, the second of two money laundering counts against Beck.
“I’m a firm believer of ‘If you made it you made it, if you didn’t you didn’t,’” Kasaris said. “The government concedes to the argument made by Mr. Ziepfel regarding the Linda Evans count.”
Counts 38 and 39 involve Beck receiving campaign contributions after investments were made into TML Consulting, a company charged with raising funds to later disseminate to other companies. The second of the two money laundering charges related to an investment from North Carolina investor Linda Evans.
“The state has failed to meet its burden,” Ziepfel said concerning both money laundering counts.
Ziepfel, one of Beck’s three attorneys representing him in this trial, made similar arguments against both counts: someone made a donation written from TML Consulting’s bank account, someone deposited the check and “the state’s offered no evidence that any of this was done at Mr. Beck’s direction or with his knowledge at the time it was done.”
Beck’s political campaign, the Friends of Pete Beck, had received more than $15,000 from TML Consulting. While the defense said Beck said there’s no proof their client cut the check and deposited the money, the state said Beck controlled TML’s purse strings.
TML Consulting was owned by the late Tom Lysaght, who both the defense and state of Ohio concede he would be facing many of these same charges, if not more, had he not died in November 2010.
For the past nine weeks, the state has presented its case against Beck, the former Mason mayor and former state lawmaker, charged with dozens of criminal counts.
Beck, 62, faces 39 counts, a revision from two indictments issued by grand juries. Beck was indicted on 16 charges in July 2013 on theft and securities fraud charges. A second indictment, also known as the superseding indictment, issued in February 2014 charged Beck with 54 additional criminal counts.
All charges on the initial indictment have been dismissed as “duplicative,” and the state has revised its second indictment to reduce the charges to 39 counts, which includes a corruption charge, and perjury, theft, telecommunications fraud, receiving stolen property and several securities-related charges.
Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge John Andrew West must rule on what’s known as a Rule 29 motion before the defense can present its case, and the defense has not indicated if it will do so.
If Beck’s defense team chooses to not present a case, believing the state has not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt, closing arguments will begin Wednesday. When they happen, closing arguments are anticipated to take two, possibly three, days.
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