Former CPD officer wants trial on extortion charge

Gregory Diltz — the former Columbus police officer linked to disgraced former officer Larry Lightning — is headed to trial on extortion charges.

Diltz appeared in U.S. District Court in Columbus today and told Judge Clay Land that he understood the risks involved in going to trial, but that he wants to turn down a plea offer by the government and have his case heard by a jury.

Diltz, a seven-year veteran of the police department when he resigned, is accused of extorting money on April 10, 2007, from a man he thought was a drug dealer, officials said.

Land asked Diltz whether he knew Assistant U.S. Attorney Mel Hyde had offered a recommendation of probation if he pleaded guilty to extortion by a public official. A probationary sentence would be unlikely if Diltz went to trial and was found guilty, the judge added.

See Tuesday's Ledger-Enquirer and this Web site for more on this story.