- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 28, 2014

LANCASTER, Ohio (AP) - A former central Ohio court clerk and her husband have pleaded not guilty to felony charges alleging that they looted public funds for personal gain.

A judge on Tuesday scheduled an Aug. 18 trial for 61-year-old Deborah Smalley, the former clerk of courts in Fairfield County. A trial for David Smalley is scheduled Sept. 16.

Defense attorneys have suggested the Smalleys were overcharged by prosecutors.

Authorities allege the pair stole nearly $121,000 in county salaries paid for work performed by clerk’s office employees on Deborah Smalley’s political campaigns. The charges include theft in office and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

Defense attorneys say they’re concerned about whether the Smalleys will get fair trials in Fairfield County and may ask for a change of venue.

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