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I-Team 10 Investigation: Anti-violence activist on trial

Updated: 11/05/2013 5:37 PM
Created: 11/05/2013 5:36 PM WHEC.com
By: Brett Davidsen

I-Team 10 was in court Tuesday as testimony continued in the trial of Ron House, a reverend in Rochester. Prosecutors say House took money from convicted criminals and told them he could get them more lenient sentences.

The U.S. government wrapped up its case Tuesday afternoon at the trial of Ronald House being heard here in Buffalo. It's been an interesting parade of witnesses, from drug dealers to politicians to sitting judges.

House is a well-known Rochester anti violence activist, but authorities say he was secretly using his influence to enrich himself. Prosecutors are trying to prove that he took money from men convicted of crimes and wrongly telling them he could get them more lenient sentences. He often appeared in front of judges on their behalf or had influential people write character references for them.

One judge who was familiar with Ron House was federal judge Charles Siragusa, who took the stand Tuesday and spelled out House's efforts to help one drug dealer who was before his court.

   

After a break, House's attorney began to call witnesses. Among them, Rochester Police Investigator Randy Benjamin who testified that House was instrumental in getting a jailed man to cooperate in a homicide investigation.

Also on the stand is Joseph Brown. He and House go way back and he told the jury he was approached by House about writing a reference for a convict. 

I-Team 10 asked Brown if he thought House was guilty of profiting off the backs of men he claimed to be helping.

This case is being heard in Buffalo because so many of the witnesses have ties to the Rochester legal community. Whether Ron House takes the stand remains to be seen. The jury could get the case by the end of the week.



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