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Openings set in trial over campaign donations

CLEVELAND (AP) — The prosecution and defense are ready to outline their cases at the Cleveland trial of a millionaire businessman accused of funneling illegal campaign contributions to two Republican candidates.

Opening statements were scheduled Wednesday in the trial of Benjamin Suarez. He's accused of steering about $100,000 each to U.S. Rep. James Renacci's (reh-NAY'-seez) 2012 re-election campaign and Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel's (man-DEHLZ') unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign.

Both campaigns returned the contributions after learning of allegations that the 72-year-old Suarez and Michael Giorgio (jee-OR'-jee-oh) conspired to bundle contributions in the names of employees and their spouses.

Giorgio, the chief financial officer for Suarez Corporation Industries in North Canton, pleaded guilty to similar charges May 19. He agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Attorneys for Suarez allege Giorgio embezzled $1 million from the company.

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