Jury acquits Sedgwick County commissioner on 21 counts in fraud case

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A Sedgwick County jury handed down their decision Monday in the fraud case of County Commissioner Michael O’Donnell.

Jurors acquitted O’Donnell on 21 counts of wire fraud, but deadlocked on two counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering related to his state and county campaigns. Those five counts may be tried again before a new jury if the prosecution requests it. 

The defense asked for the five counts to be dismissed. The judge will consider it. The judge would not say how the jury was deadlocked on the five counts. 

During the one week trial, prosecutors alleged O’Donnell took $10,500 of campaign funds to put into his personal checking account or give to friends. The commissioner testified the payments were legitimate expenses.

KSN News spoke with O’Donnell and his family after the jury handed down their decision. 

“I am honestly very relieved. It feels good to be vindicated virtually on every charge,” he told KSN News. “I have been dedicated of the second county commission district every day since this bogus indictment came down. I attend to get back to that.”

“There is no words. I am so, so happy that it is over and that jury came back with the right decision. We knew all along he wasn’t guilty,” said Peggy O’Donnell, Michael’s mother. 

U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister issued a statement saying, in part, his office will still consider going after the charges again where the jury could not make a decision.

“As always our office takes very seriously the determinations made by a jury of our citizens, and we will consider the jury’s decision here carefully in deciding next steps for our office,” McAllister said.

O’Donnell’s term on the Sedgwick County Commission began in 2017. He served in the Kansas Senate from 2012 to January 2017.

The Sedgwick County Republican Party released a statement saying, “We are not surprised that the jury has found Commissioner O’Donnell not guilty on 21 charges. This trial has been a clear display of government overreach. We look forward to continuing to work with Michael as he serves his constituents and our county representing Sedgwick County Commission – District 2.”

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