- Associated Press - Monday, January 26, 2015

ATHENS, Ohio (AP) - Jury selection began Monday in the corruption trial of a suspended county sheriff who is accused of using public money to buy meals and clothes and pocketing money from sales of county property.

Athens County Sheriff Patrick Kelly has been indicted on 25 counts, including theft in office, tampering with records and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. He has pleaded not guilty and denies wrongdoing.

Besides buying food and clothing with county money, Kelly, 64, is accused of selling county property to a scrapyard, stealing copper wire from a county garage and failing to keep a cashbook tracking money he received in an official capacity, among other allegations.

The indictment also alleges his campaign didn’t properly report donations and funneled money through a personal bank account.

Kelly was suspended in March. He has vowed to fight the charges and accused Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office of operating with a political agenda.

If convicted on all charges, Kelly could face more than 40 years in prison and the loss of his Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy license, which would prevent him from being a law enforcement officer.

The trial is expected to last about a month.

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