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Congressional Candidate Indicted

March 5, 1998

CLEVELAND (AP) _ A federal grand jury indicted a congressional candidate Wednesday on charges that he helped out grocery store owners in exchange for personal loans and campaign contributions.

State Sen. Jeffrey Johnson, 39, questioned the timing of the indictment, which comes a month after he announced his candidacy for the seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Louis Stokes, D-Ohio.

``I want the voters to know that I did not do this, and when given the opportunity, I will prove it,″ Johnson said.

The indictment charges the Cleveland Democrat with two violations of bribery by state officials and two counts of mail fraud. The crimes carry a combined maximum penalty of 50 years in prison and $1 million in fines.

Johnson used his position from 1994 to 1996 to help the store owners get state and federal contracts, the indictment said. The Justice Department accused him of receiving $7,000 in unrepaid loans and $10,000 in campaign contributions.

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