Drew Hastings, the stand-up comedian with two decades of performing experience who’s serving his second four-year term as the mayor of Hillsboro, Ohio, will stand trial this fall on felony allegations including election falsification, theft, theft in office and tampering with records.
Hastings entered not guilty pleas Monday at his arraignment in court.
The judge also entered a pre-trial publicity order instructing everyone involved in the case to avoid commenting to the media directly or indirectly via social media. As The Times-Gazette reported, Judge Patricia Ann Cosgrove of the Highland County Common Pleas Court said: “We’re going to try this case in the courtroom.”
In February, Hastings issued a press release questioning the criminal investigation and condemning investigators for looking into the school records of his 7-year-old daughter.
After a grand jury indicted Hastings last month, Hastings jokingly Tweeted about getting served the indictment while eating at a Bob Evans.
The Sheriffs’ office served my indictment while I was eating at Bob Evans. That is the fastest service I’ve ever gotten at a Bob Evans.
— Drew Hastings (@drewhastings) July 12, 2016
The charges include allegedly falsifying his address to run for Hillsboro mayor in the first place, claiming a $500 city refund on a vacant building for which he allegedly altered documents, and having a contractor dispose of construction trash in city dumpsters.
Hastings moved from Hollywood to Ohio in 2006 to establish a Midwestern base for his stand-up touring, and also to take up farming in his 50s. He owns a cattle farm and often speaks at farming industry events. Hastings won his first mayoral election in Hillsboro in 2011, and re-election in 2015 with 59.4 percent of the vote. His most recent hour special, Irked and Miffed, aired on Comedy Central in 2008, and his most recent stand-up album, “Farmageddon,” released in 2012.