Columbus lobbyist John Raphael pleaded guilty to extortion Thursday afternoon in U.S. District Court.
Federal prosecutors say Raphael repeatedly pressured the city's red light camera vendor, Redflex, to make campaign contributions to Columbus elected officials or lose its contracts.
Raphael’s attorney Michael Miller told WOSU his client is embarrassed.
"It’s a very difficult time for him. His business is pretty much destroyed," Miller said. "His reputation’s been tarnished a great deal. And I suppose like any other person going through something like this, John doesn’t feel good at all.”
Former Redflex executive Karen Finley has pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges. She alleges she funneled campaign contributions through Raphael to city officials.
Mayoral candidate Andrew Ginther received one of those contributions, but he has denied any wrongdoing. Ginther recently said Raphael's admission absolves him of misconduct. He has not been charged with a crime.
Miller said Raphael could be sentenced in January. Miller has said Raphael likely faces 15 to 37 months in prison. The maximum sentence is 20 years.