WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – With his jury trial just a little more than one month away, former Niles Mayor Ralph Infante was back in a Trumbull County courtroom Thursday.
Infante’s attorney John Juhasz was asking the court to exclude from evidence items taken during the February 2016 search of a home where Infante and his wife, Judith, were living.
Juhasz has some issues with the search, questioning ownership of the home at the time and if the scope of the warrant was exceeded since other family members were living there, too.
“There were designated areas in that residence where they were living and that the officers were so notified,” Juhasz said.
Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Kasaris say agents searching the house are permitted to look anywhere they want.
“Once agents are in the home, they can look anywhere in that home where whatever they’re looking for may be found,” Kasaris said.
Juhasz also questions how the information was passed on to the judge at the probable cause hearing in order to obtain the warrant to search the home in the first place.
“We don’t even know right now if the issuing judge or at least I don’t know if the issuing judge took testimony and did this in addition to reviewing the affidavit,” Juhasz said.
Prosecutors argue there’s no issue with probably case or credibility of the scope, and talked about money that Infante allegedly had that they say wasn’t reported on his income taxes.
“The defendant had roughly $200,000 that was not reported on his income taxes or failed to report the source thereof on his ethics disclosure,” Kasaris said.
Visiting Judge Patricia Cosgrove hasn’t ruled on the suppression issues but says she’s taking it under advisement. She did ask that transcripts of the probable cause hearing be provided to the court within seven days.
Infante faces 41 criminal charges in the case, including theft in office, bribery and having unlawful interest in a public contract.
He’s accused of accepting bribes, operating an illegal gambling enterprise at ITAM 39 in Girard and selling jobs to people in exchange for work in the city. Several others are also facing charges in the case, including Infante’s wife, Judith, and Niles former auditor Charles Nader.
All have pleaded not guilty.