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Youngstown, Ohio, mayor gets probation in corruption plea deal

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - The mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, was sentenced on Monday to a year of probation for his role in a public corruption case involving a property deal made while he was a county commissioner, a county prosecutor’s office said, but he will remain in office.

Youngstown Mayor John McNally, a Democrat, was sentenced in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court in Cleveland after pleading guilty to four misdemeanor counts, said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor spokesman Joe Frolik.

The plea deal allows McNally, who was elected mayor in 2014, to remain in office. The charges stemmed from his nine years as Mahoning County commissioner, from 2005 until he was elected mayor.

McNally had faced multiple felony charges, including bribery, record tampering and money laundering. But as part of the agreement with prosecutors he pleaded guilty to two counts of falsification, one count of attempted unlawful use of telecommunications and one count of attempted restrictions on present or former public officials, all misdemeanors, officials said.

Under Ohio law, a felony conviction bars anyone from holding most public offices for seven years.

Also on Monday, former Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino was sentenced by Judge Janet Burnside to one year of probation after pleading guilty to one felony count and three misdemeanors for his role in the matter, Frolik said.

Based on the plea deals, McNally had faced a maximum of 36 months in prison and Sciortino a maximum of 2-1/2 years.

Both McNally and Sciortino were initially charged for taking part in a scheme to inflate the cost of moving the Mahoning County jobs and family services office from a rental property to benefit a local business owner, prosecutors said.

In addition to the plea in the Cuyahoga County court, Sciortino agreed to plead guilty to one felony and one misdemeanor in Mahoning County court on Thursday, according to court records.

Youngstown attorney Martin Yavorcik, 42, was convicted on eight felony counts in the Cuyahoga County court on Friday as part of the 83-count indictment brought against the three men in 2014 by the Ohio Attorney General’s office alleging a pattern of corruption.

Sentencing for Yavorcik is scheduled for April 22. He faces up to 29 years in prison, Frolik said.

Reporting by Kim Palmer, Editing by Ben Klayman and Dan Grebler