WARREN — Legal professional David Betras, defending Trumbull County Commissioner Niki Frenchko towards a cost of disturbing a lawful assembly, is asking the fourth-degree misdemeanor cost “ridiculous,” “outrageous,” “disgusting,” “alarming,” and “harmful.”
Frenchko didn’t bodily seem for her arraignment in Warren Municipal Courtroom in entrance of Choose Terry Ivanchak however filed a written not responsible plea via Betras.
Frenchko was arrested in the course of the commissioners’ common assembly Thursday as she tried to defend herself towards statements made by Trumbull County Sheriff Paul Monroe in a letter despatched to the commissioners. The letter demanded an apology from Frenchko for feedback she made throughout a June 1 public assembly questioning the medical therapy of a jail inmate.
After Commissioner Mauro Cantalamessa after which a sheriff’s deputy mentioned Frenchko was being disruptive, she was led from the assembly room by two deputies, handcuffed, then processed and launched on the county jail.
“She was questioning a no-bid contract for a physician … and constituents had been writing to her in regards to the situation of the medical therapy (on the county jail), they usually arrested her for questioning the sheriff and never apologizing to the sheriff,” Betras mentioned. “That’s what they do in Russia. We don’t do this in America.”
Betras echoed Frenchko’s earlier declare that the arrest was a “setup” by the sheriff’s workplace.
After reviewing Frenchko’s case Friday morning, Ivanchak requested by way of mail that the Ohio Supreme Courtroom appoint one other choose attributable to a battle of curiosity.
Warren Metropolis Legislation Director Enzo Cantalamessa, who heads the town prosecutor’s workplace, mentioned he can be requesting via the Warren Municipal Courtroom that one other prosecutor deal with the case as properly. Enzo Cantalamessa is Mauro Cantalamessa’s brother.
“As a result of I’m a commissioner’s brother, I’m conflicted,” Enzo Cantalamessa mentioned. “As a result of I’m conflicted, my total employees is conflicted.”
He mentioned whereas Frenchko’s arraignment Friday morning was within the metropolis’s court docket, it was the sheriff’s workplace that filed the costs, not the town.
A message left with the county sheriff’s workplace was not returned Friday.
On Thursday, Monroe mentioned Frenchko’s arrest was not a setup. He famous that commissioners Cantalamessa and Frank Fuda repeatedly requested Frenchko to cease interrupting clerk Paula Vivoda-Klotz as she was studying Monroe’s letter at Fuda’s request.
“The clerk was crying and asking to not be recorded by the commissioner. She stored interrupting the clerk as she was studying the letter. She was in misery,” Monroe mentioned.
Betras recommended Frenchko’s arrest was a political transfer and mentioned, “we don’t jail our political opponents on this nation,” and that Frenchko was doing the job she was elected to do.
He mentioned his workplace goes to “vigorously defend” Frenchko. He then intends to sue the sheriff’s workplace and commissioners Cantalamessa and Fuda individually, he mentioned.
“The individuals of Trumbull County ought to be outraged that their sheriff and different county commissioners are actually appearing like dictators in a democracy,” Betras mentioned. “It’s disgusting, it’s alarming and it’s harmful.”
As of Friday afternoon, a date was not set for Frenchko to return to court docket.