- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

PORT CLINTON, Ohio (AP) - Trial is scheduled to begin Wednesday for a northern Ohio lawmaker accused of stealing antiques and other items from a Port Clinton home while doing work as an auctioneer.

Rep. Steve Kraus, who is charged with felony counts of burglary, theft and breaking and entering, has maintained his innocence.

The Republican from Sandusky told the Sandusky Register (https://bit.ly/1Sz8BCj) that he refused to resolve the case with a deal that would have involved him resigning from office in exchange for leniency.

“Basically they said they would give me diversion if I resigned my seat as a state representative,” said Kraus, who has suggested that the charges were part of political maneuvering by Democrats during a heated campaign.

Kraus was indicted in Ottawa County court last November, weeks after he won his House seat by defeating Chris Redfern, who was then chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party.

A defense attorney has said Kraus acknowledged taking the items from the Port Clinton home but did so after a real estate agent selling the property asked him to inventory them for auction.

A police report alleged Kraus took antiques, a shotgun and musical instruments without permission. Police said witnesses took photos of Kraus removing the items.

Krause has argued he had authorization.

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Information from: Sandusky Register, https://www.sanduskyregister.com/cgi-bin/liveique.acgi$sch=frontpage?frontpage

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