- Associated Press - Friday, October 2, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio lobbyist has agreed to plead guilty to extortion in a scandal involving the bribery of Columbus public officials by a traffic-camera company trying to keep its contracts with the city.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 60-year-old John Raphael on Friday signed an agreement to plead guilty to one count of interference with commerce by threats. A hearing will be scheduled later.

The charge says Raphael extorted money in the form of campaign contributions for elected officials from Phoenix-based Redflex for contracts awarded by the Columbus City Council.

Raphael said in a statement that he is taking responsibility for his “improper” actions, but denies he took part in any bribery or public corruption.

Raphael does not implicate any elected officials in his plea deal. A federal investigation is ongoing.

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