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New indictments announced in House Bill 6 scandal

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced a new 27-count criminal indictments in connection to the Ohio House Bill 6 scandal Monday.

In a news conference, investigators announced the charges against former FirstEnergy CEO Charles Jones, former FirstEnergy Senior Vice President Michael Dowling, and former Public Utlities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) chairman Sam Randazzo.

Charles Jones, former FirstEnergy CEO, HB 6 Arrest(Courtesy: Summit County Prosecutor's Office)

Jones faces the following 10 charges:

Michael Dowling, HB 6 Arrest, former FirstEnergy senior vice president of external affairs(Source: Summit County Prosecutor's Office)

Dowling faces the following 12 charges:

Samuel Randazzo, HB 6 Arrest, Former PUCO chairman(Source: Summit County Prosecutor's Office)

Randazzo faces the following 22 charges:

As of late Monday afternoon, all three men had turned themselves into the Summit County jail and have been released.

"This indictment is about more than one piece of legislation," Yost said. "It is about the hostile capture of a significant portion of Ohio's state government by deception, betrayal and dishonesty. Shout it from the public square to the boardroom, from Wall Street to Broad and High. Those who perversely seek to turn the government to their own private ends will face the destruction of everything they worked for."

Randazzo and others have been indicted and prosecuted in federal court for their role in the House Bill 6 scandal, but the state charges mark the first criminal charges against Jones and Dowling.

"These individuals used First Energy to break the law and betray the public's trust," said Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh.

The IEU-Ohio Administration also is included in the following five criminal charges:

Ohio lawmakers passed House Bill 6 and Gov. Mike DeWine signed it into law in 2019.

Former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder was one of five people arrested in 2020 for the $60 million bribery scheme.

A jury found him, along with Ohio Republican Party chair Matthew Borges, guilty of participating in a racketeering conspiracy in March 2023.

Householder received a 20-year federal prison sentence in June 2023.

FirstEnergy provided the following statement to 19 News:

While we can't comment on the actions of the Ohio Attorney General's Office, FirstEnergy has taken significant steps to move forward, including reconstituting our senior leadership team and instilling a culture of ethics, integrity and accountability at every level of the organization. Today, FirstEnergy is a different, stronger company with new leadership, a sound strategy and a best-in-class compliance program. We are well-positioned for the long term.

As we move forward, we will continue to engage and cooperate fully with the Ohio Attorney General's Office.

"For four years, Ohioans have waited for state officials to hold anyone accountable in the largest public corruption scandal in state history. Today's announcement is long overdue. But just because Dave Yost wants to act tough now, make no mistake: he and his fellow statewide Republicans with higher political ambitions have deep ties to this bribery scheme. And Ohioans still deserve answers from Dave Yost, Jon Husted and many other Ohio Republicans on their involvement in this historic scandal"

The Summit County Prosecutor's Office confirmed the trio will be turning themselves in Monday. They will all be arraigned in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas at 1 p.m. on Feb. 13.

This is a developing story. Return to 19 News for updates.

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