Ohio judge dismisses 2 of 4 counts against comedian mayor

FILE – In this Feb. 19, 2016, file photo, Hillsboro, Ohio, Mayor Drew Hastings, who is a veteran standup comedian, pauses during an interview at his office in Hillsboro, Ohio. A final pretrial hearing is planned Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016, for Hastings, whose trial on four felony counts alleging misconduct in office is scheduled to begin Nov. 7. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

HILLSBORO, Ohio (AP) — A judge has dismissed two of four felony counts against a veteran standup comedian accused of abusing his power as mayor of a small Ohio city.

Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings still faces a charge of election falsification concerning his residency and a charge stemming from alleged misuse of city trash bins. Judge Patricia Ann Cosgrove threw out two other counts Wednesday and then continued the trial.

The Times-Gazette reports a special prosecutor from Ohio’s auditor’s office told jurors Tuesday that Hastings “thought the laws didn’t apply to him.”

A defense attorney says Hastings’ political enemies were behind an investigation that began soon after the Republican’s re-election to a second term last November.

The city of 6,600 people is 60 miles east of Cincinnati.

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