Prosecution rests in federal trial of Sedgwick Co. commissioner

Local

The prosecution has rested three days into the federal trial of Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O’Donnell. 

Now, the defense is calling witnesses in hopes of clearing the former state senator of charges of money laundering and wire fraud.

And, while the defense asked for acquittal on all charges, judge Eric Melgren denied defense requests.

One prosecution witness that raised some eyebrows was Peggy O’Donnell, O’Donnell’s mother.

She was called to the stand. At one point, she began crying and insisted the prosecution was asking her questions outside of what she knew. The judge agreed. She was allowed to leave after answering a few remedial questions about work she did to help Michael O’Donnell on his campaigns.

A number of campaign workers who worked for O’Donnell were also called to the stand. The prosecution asked them if they indeed worked for the money they received from O’Donnell. 

Campaign worker Jonathon Dennill was asked if he and other employees tried to get money for free without doing any work. Dennill said no and that nothing like that was ever discussed or implied. 

Local business developer George Laham, who donated to O’Donnell’s campaigns, was asked if he felt defrauded by O’Donnell. He said no. 

Jack Masterson also took the stand. Masterson received six checks from O’Donnell in 2015 and 2016. During his testimony, Masterson said he “does not remember doing any work for those checks.”

The prosecution has rested its case, and the defense is now calling witnesses. The defense will have several witnesses that could still include former Sedgwick County Commissioner Dave Unruh.

The trial continues Thursday morning.

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