Former Senator's License Suspended

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Former state Sen. Jeffrey Johnson's license to practice law was suspended indefinitely Wednesday by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Johnson, now chief public affairs officer to Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell, was convicted of extortion in 1998 for accepting $17,000 in campaign contributions and personal loans in exchange for helping grocers get licenses to sell liquor and lottery tickets and accept welfare-related food coupons. He served 15 months in a federal prison.

The court's Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline had recommended that Johnson's license be revoked. But the court, in a unanimous ruling, imposed the lesser penalty.

"His misconduct constitutes egregious violations of the code of professional responsibility. But he may someday be able to demonstrate the ethical conduct that Ohio attorneys must practice," the court said in an unsigned opinion.

Johnson, a Democrat, served in the Senate from 1990-98.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)