WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — County Commissioner Michele Nicole Frenchko, better known as Niki Frenchko, appeared in Warren Municipal Court with her attorney, David Betas, for a pretrial hearing in the case against her.
Retired Columbiana County Municipal Court Judge Mark Frost and Raymond Srp a special prosecutor from Portage County have been assigned to her case.
Betras asked Judge Frost to consider moving the trial out of Trumbull County.
“It would take us forever to pick a jury here. I’m gonna be formally filing a motion to change a venue just so we can have people who don’t know anything about Niki Frenchko,” said Betras.
Frenchko is charged with disturbing a lawful meeting. She was arrested during a commissioners’ meeting on July 7.
Judge Frost also granted Betras’s request to preserve a list of so-called evidence including call logs, surveillance video and any correspondence dealing with the “disruption of a lawful meeting” statute from any commissioner’s, sheriff’s, or auditor’s office staff referencing Commissioner Frenchko.
“The judge signed an order to preserve a lot of evidence that we think will exonerate my client and show that this was nothing more than a political hit job,” said Betras.
Commissioners Mauro Cantalamessa and Frank Fuda declined to comment on camera but say it wasn’t politically motivated but what she is doing is politically motivated by trying to defame and slander her two colleagues.
Sheriff Paul Monroe told First News “these allegations that were made are baseless and absurd.”
The next hearing for this case is scheduled for Sept. 13.