CLEVELAND — Leading Ohio Republicans, including U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and the state attorney general, have been subpoenaed to testify in a $100 million multistate fraud trial, as the defense tries to show the defendant's GOP-leaning political donations were legal.
Court documents show subpoenas also were issued for testimony given by two predecessors of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who has directed the fraud investigation.
DeWine filed a motion late Wednesday to quash the subpoenas, saying there's no indication that the individuals have relevant evidence that can help the defendant. The speaker's office had no immediate comment.
"The attorney general had no personal knowledge of the crimes Bobby Thompson committed when he stole millions of dollars by running a sham charity that was supposed to help our veterans," spokeswoman Lisa Peterson Hackley said in an email.
The man who calls himself Bobby Thompson is scheduled to go on trial Monday in Cleveland on charges of defrauding people who donated to a reputed charity for Navy veterans, the United States Navy Veterans Association. He has showered politicians, often Republicans, with political donations. The defense wants to show that the political donations were legal, defense attorney Joseph Patituce said Wednesday.
The Tampa Bay Times broke stories on Thompson that led to Ohio's pursuit of the case.
Thompson has been identified by authorities as Harvard-trained lawyer and former military intelligence officer John Donald Cody. He disappeared for almost two years after his 2010 indictment on theft, money laundering and other charges tied to his Tampa-based charity. He was arrested last year in Portland, Ore.
DeWine said the crimes of which Thompson is accused can be proved without delving deeply into his political giving. He said last week that the political donations are "kind of a sidebar to the scam" and are "not really an essential part of proving the elements of the crime of him taking this money."