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Deters: No dereliction of duty charges for 'Gang of Five'; investigation ongoing

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Posted at 8:20 PM, Sep 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-29 10:18:59-04

CINCINNATI — Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said he has been informed by the special prosecutor in the "Gang of Five" case that the investigation into dereliction of duty has been closed.

The self-proclaimed Gang of Five - Councilmembers P.G. Sittenfeld, Greg Landsman, Tamaya Dennard, Chris Seelbach and Wendell Young - admitted to violating Ohio’s Open Meeting Act by conducting public business in private emails and text messages during 2018.

Deters said former U.S. attorney and special prosecutor Pat Hanley said the tampering with evidence investigation was closed in a letter to him and the Cincinnati city solicitor today.

Judge Charles Kubicki appointed Hanley to be special prosecutor in the case in December. The overall investigation is ongoing, and charges could still be filed.

"This episode should now be put behind us," read a statement from Seelbach's attorney, Tom Hodges, on behalf of Seelbach, Sittenfeld and Landsman. "They have apologized for and learned from their mistake. Cincinnati is facing four crises all at once – a pandemic, a recession, a movement from greater racial justice, and the spike in crime. That’s what our community is concerned about and that’s what our leaders are focused on. I have spoken to Mr. Hanley and this is over."

WCPO has reached out to Hanley and Young for comment and will update this story.