Lake County sheriff’s wire fraud, bribery case goes to jury

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) _ Jurors in northwest Indiana have started deliberations in the trial of a county sheriff accused of soliciting bribes in an illegal towing scheme.

Jurors started deliberating shortly before 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and were scheduled to resume deliberations Thursday morning in Lake County Sheriff John Buncich’s case. He has pleaded not guilty to wire fraud, bribery and other counts. He testified over three days during the trial, denying all wrongdoing.

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday told jurors during closing argumnts that the sheriff abused his elected position to solicit bribes from tow operators.

Buncich is a Democrat and was elected in 2015 to his fourth term as sheriff of Indiana’s second-most populous county.