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Ohio Supreme Court panel suspends indicted Cleveland Councilman Ken Johnson

Johnson says he’s innocent and will continue to fight charges

CLEVELAND — Editor's note: Video at the top of this story was originally published on Feb. 23, 2021.

A three-judge panel appointed by Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor has suspended Cleveland Councilman Ken Johnson from office, citing the federal corruption charges against him “adversely affects the rights and interests of the public.”

O’Connor appointed a three-judge panel to hear Attorney General Dave Yost’s request that indicted Cleveland Councilman Ken Johnson be suspended from office.

RELATED: Cleveland Councilman Ken Johnson wouldn’t ‘commit’ to resigning, says Council President Kevin Kelley

According to the panel’s report, Johnson appealed the panel’s preliminary decision to suspend him. Johnson said he’s innocent of all the charges and plans to fight his criminal case this summer, the report says.

Among the federal charges Johnson faces is using phony receipts to collect nearly $130,000 in expense reimbursements. Earlier reporting by 3News' Mark Naymik shows Johnson collected more than $165,000 with false expense reports.

Cleveland City Council issued the following statement at 10 a.m. Tuesday:

Today Cleveland City Council was informed that Councilman Ken Johnson has been suspended by the special commission formed by the Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court. The commission was made up of three retired justices or judges.

Council respects the commission’s decision. It’s our understanding that the Cuyahoga County Probate Court will be asked to name a replacement. We will work with the Probate Court to find a qualified replacement for Councilmember Johnson to represent the best interests of the residents of Ward 4.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost asked for the commission under Ohio’s Revised Code 3.16.

You can read the panel's decision in the document below:

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Editor's note: Video in the player above was originally published on Feb. 26, 2021.

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