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Policy Denies Fixing Trial

Cleveland Browns president Carmen Policy has been accused of paying $1,000 to fix a criminal case for one of his clients in 1985, according to an FBI report.

Michael Rich, a prosecutor convicted of racketeering, told two FBI agents and a federal prosecutor that Policy paid the money to help Tom O'Nesti, a close friend of mobster Joseph Naples, according to court documents filed Tuesday in Youngstown.

Policy, who was a defense attorney in Youngstown in the 1980s, called the accusation false.

"The only thing I can say is that I have never, throughout my entire professional career as an attorney, participated in or directed any kind of payoff to any public official to influence the outcome of any case I've had," he said during training camp. "I don't know how to say it any simpler."

A report by FBI agent Robert Kroner on mob-related activities was part of the documents filed for a separate case.

Rich has been a government witness since he pleaded guilty to a federal racketeering charge in 1998.

Rich, an assistant prosecutor at the time, recommended to a judge that O'Nesti receive probation for a charge of receiving stolen property, according Kroner's report.

Kroner's report stated that Rich told him he received the money during a party at Policy's home attended by Edward Flask Jr., Policy's law partner at the time, and Edward DeBartolo Jr., who was owner of the San Francisco 49ers and at one time Policy's best friend.

The FBI report was obtained by attorney Sherman Miles who is representing a police officer from the Youngstown suburb of Campbell in a lawsuit against Rich and former Youngstown mob boss Lenine Strollo.

The lawsuit contends that Strollo and Rich, who was law director and prosecutor for Campbell, conspired to fix a civil service test given for the police chief's position in 1994.

Miles refused to say how he obtained the report. He noted that the accusations against Policy were just two paragraphs of Kroner's 16-page report on mob-related activities.

Messages were left Wednesday for FBI spokesman Bob Hawk.

Kroner's report also includes accusations by Rich that Policy told him he gave money to then-Mahoning County prosecutor Gary Van Brocklin to fix O'Nesti's case. O'Nesti pleaded guilty to a charge of receiving stolen property and received probation.

A message seeking comment was left with a woman who answered the phone at Van Brocklin's residence.

Policy was named legal counsel for the 49ers in 1983 but maintained his Youngstown practice. He became team president in 1991.

He resigned from the 49ers in July 1998 and teamed with billionaire Al Lerner in a bid to own the expansion Cleveland Browns.

©2000 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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