Bellaire Bridge Owner Trial Wraps Up

Bellaire Bridge owner Lee Chaklos did not take the stand Wednesday during the second day of his criminal contempt trial before U.S. District Court in Columbus.

The two-day trial concluded Wednesday, according to Dan Guida, who represents the city of Benwood in matters pertaining to the Bellaire Bridge.

“The defense rested without presenting any evidence,” he said. “Lee Chaklos did not testify, nor did (his attorneys) present any witnesses.”

The burden of proof rests with the prosecution, he added.

Judge Algenon L. Marbley did not offer a ruling Wednesday at the conclusion of the trial. He instead gave counsel in the case until Dec. 9 to submit briefs, and each attorney has until Dec. 16 to respond to the opposing brief, according to Guida.

He said a representative of Strauss Industries of Wheeling, a scrap metal business, was the only witness to testify before the court on Wednesday.

Chaklos is accused of not disclosing to the court in testimony earlier this year that three liens totalling $2,126,400 had been filed against the bridge by companies hoping to invest in and capitalize on its scrap metal value.

Guida and Benwood City Solicitor Eric Gordon testified before the court on Tuesday.