The first trial for one of the men charged in a federal Dayton-area corruption probe may be pushed back after a hearing today before U.S. District Court Judge Thomas M. Rose.
Local businessman Brian Higgins was scheduled for trial on Sept. 23, but now that date is expected to be a hearing to discuss motions in the case. A new trial date has not been scheduled.
“We really need to resolve these legal issues before going to trial,” said Higgins’ attorney Anthony Cicero as the two left Rose’s courtroom after Wednesday’s hearing.
Other key court dates are on the horizon in coming weeks. And federal prosecutors say the investigation is ongoing and more charges are expected at some point, though none have yet materialized.
Higgins is one of four men charged in what federal prosecutors have called an ongoing probe into corruption in Dayton-area politics.
The charges against Higgins do not include corruption, however, but accuse Higgins of filing a fraudulent insurance claim after prosecutors say he received more than $100,000 to repair home damage from a leaking 600-gallon fish tank but used the money for his own benefit.
Higgins pleaded not guilty to felony counts of mail fraud and wire fraud. His attorney argued in a prior court filing that money was pocketed by the government’s informant, who Higgins hired to do the repairs on his 8,000-square-foot home in the 7200 block of Meeker Creek Drive in Butler Twp.
Higgins is well-known in Dayton as the previous owner of the now-defunct Sidebar restaurant in the Oregon District. He also previously ran a controversial livery business that transported dead bodies on behalf of governments including Montgomery County and the city of Chicago.
WHO IS BRIAN HIGGINS?: The complicated history of Dayton man charged in corruption investigation
The others charged are former Dayton city commissioner Joey Williams, former state lawmaker Clayton Luckie and former Dayton city employee RoShawn Winburn.
In July Luckie pleaded guilty to a count of mail fraud for defrauding the city of Dayton’s minority contracting program. His sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 15.
Winburn pleaded not guilty to felony counts of honest services wire fraud, corruptly soliciting a bribe and making a false statement and his trial is scheduled for Oct. 15. Williams’ pleaded not guilty to a count of corruptly soliciting a bribe and his trial is scheduled for Feb. 18.
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