Taft Wins Federal Acquittal for Client After Trial in Southern District of Ohio

On Feb. 22, a federal jury acquitted Taft’s client, former Columbus police officer Whitney Lancaster, who was accused of one count of conspiracy to violate an individual’s civil rights. This offense carried a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

The five-day trial began Feb. 14 before Judge Sarah Morrison in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. Jurors began deliberations on Friday afternoon and reached their verdicts Tuesday.

Lancaster was a detective with the vice unit at the Columbus Division of Police. He was accused of participating in the arrest of a strip club owner who was found in possession of cocaine. The FBI’s Southern Ohio Public Corruption Task Force had identified the arrest as part of a broader investigation into police corruption. Lancaster had also been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, but that count was dismissed before trial.

Lancaster was represented by Taft Columbus attorneys David Thomas and Kathryn Wallrabenstein.

“We are pleased with the outcome and our ability to bring this matter to a successful resolution for Mr. Lancaster, who is relieved and grateful that he can finally put this matter behind him,” said Wallrabenstein

Thomas is a partner in Taft’s Compliance, Investigations, and White Collar Defense practice. He advises and represents companies, executives, public officials, and other professionals who are the subject of state and federal investigations and prosecutions. Thomas is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and has tried cases before juries in state and federal courts in matters ranging from aggravated murder to corporate fraud and federal conspiracy.

Wallrabenstein is a senior associate in Taft’s Compliance, Investigations, and White Collar Defense practice. She represents individuals and entities who are being prosecuted in state and federal courts, as well as individuals and entities who are involved with government and regulatory investigations.

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