Arraignment set for former GOP statehouse candidate to be tried before visiting judge

A retired Hamilton County common pleas court judge has been assigned to hear the case involving a former GOP candidate who is charged with extortion and coercion in connection to alleged threats made during her campaign.

Timothy S. Hogan was assigned to the case against Jocelyn Smith, 36, by the Supreme Court of Ohio Friday morning. At the request of Smith’s attorney her arraignment has been set for July 20 in Greene County Common Pleas Court.

ExploreRELATED: Perales GOP opponent indicted for extortion and coercion

Smith is charged for alleged threats she made during her campaign against State Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, during this year’s GOP primary, according to Greene County Common Pleas Court records.

Perales won the election and will face Sugarcreek Twp. Democrat Kim McCarthy in the Nov. 6 General Election.

Smith faces a third-degree felony count of extortion and a second-degree misdemeanor count of coercion, according to court records of the secret indictment filed June 15. Smith is a registered-nurse case manager at Sheakley Unicomp and a teacher at Fortis College. She was a first time candidate for political office when she ran against Perales this year.

Smith alleged that Perales had choked, forcibly kissed, fondled and sexted with her in 2015. Perales admitted sending inappropriate sexually oriented text messages to Smith during a brief consensual relationship in early 2015 but denies that he choked, kissed or touched her in any intimate way.

Perales filed an extortion complaint with Fairborn Police after Smith threatened at a news conference to release information she said proved her allegations if he didn’t resign from the House and withdraw from the race.

“Please don’t force me to release the rest of the text messages and other mountains of evidence,” Smith said at the March 27 news conference in Fairborn. “I think you know the honorable thing to do is to step down.”

See the Facebook Live of Smith’s March 27 news conference

Greene County Prosecutor Stephen K. Haller had earlier referred the case to a special prosecutor, Madison County Prosecutor Stephen J. Pronai, to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.

“The indictment against my client, Jocelyn Smith, is a politically motivated witch hunt by the Greene County ‘good-old-boys’ network and a prosecutorial abuse of discretion and power that will be vigorously defended against,” said Smith’s attorney, Ben Swift, in an email after the indictment was announced last month. “We look forward to our day in court when all of the true facts will come out.”

Perales, a former Greene County commissioner and Beavercreek councilman, said he just wants to focus on serving his western Greene County 73rd District, which he has represented since 2013.

“There are no winners in this situation. Justice just needs to take its course,” Perales said after the indictement was announced. “People have to be held accountable for their words and deeds. I remain focused on winning in November.”

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