YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The attorney for ousted Mahoning County Auditor Mike Sciortino is questioning a claim made against his client by lawyers with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
On Thursday, Sciortino was indicted on 25 counts, including theft in office and unauthorized use of computers or telecommunications property. Prosecutors say while he was auditor, Sciortino used his county-owned computers to conduct campaign fundraising and business related to his private law practice.
In a press release sent by Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office, lawyers claim they became suspicious of Sciortino when he did not immediately turn over his county laptop to investigators.
Sciortino’s lawyer, John Yuhasz, said the statement is wrong and that he and Sciortino did cooperate with authorities.
“I can’t obviously talk about the evidence yet because I have not seen the discovery. But I see the press release that is either blatant misinformation, either somebody doesn’t have the right information or they got the right information and they are lying about it,” Yuhasz said.
Juhasz said investigators only had a warrant to search the Auditor’s office, but when prosecutors insisted Sciortino turn over the missing laptop he went home right away and retrieved it.
“When they showed up at the county office with the search warrant, the computer was not there. We told them we would voluntarily produce it the next day. They didn’t have another search warrant for where the computer was located and at first BCI called me and said that was fine. Then they called me back and said not,” Juhasz said.
He also said he plans to investigate how many county employees have used their county-owned computers for personal use.
“We are going to try to find out just how many people have used the county system for personal things, prosecutors, other public officials, because it is either wrong for everybody, or it is wrong for no one. But you don’t pick out one guy,” Juhasz said.
In May of last year, Sciortino was indicted on corruption charges for trying to prevent the county from buying the old Oak Hill Renaissance Place. Prosecutors say these new charges are not connected to that case.
Sciortino was removed from office late last year. He is expected in court on these new charges in a couple weeks.