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August 15, 2005

Bloggers arrested for revealing judicial corruption

From the Empire Journal...

Former Ohio attorney Elsebeth Baumgartner and the editor of a news blog, Bryan DuBois of Sandusky, Ohio, have been charged with intimidation and retaliation because a judge filed a complaint against them, claiming that he was intimidated by them and their charges of judicial corruption....

Dr. Baumgartner has been a long-time critic of Ohioan government, both local and state, alleging massive federal and state grant fraud as well as abuses of power by public officials, particularly Erie County district attorney Kevin Baxter and numerous judges in northern Ohio. Baumgartner teamed up with DuBois in the publication of Erie Voices, www.erievoices.com/blog, a website that publishes articles and opinion alleging misconduct by public officials in several northern Ohio counties including Cuyahoga, Erie, Lucas and Ottawa....

The two bring alleged judicial and other public corruption to the public’s view, supporting their allegations with documents and other substantiation. They have now been deemed “paper terrorists” by the special prosecutor in the case, Daniel Kasaris who regularly serves as an assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor, because they had the audacity to legally challenge the public officials by legal court filings, trying to exercise the rule of law....

Baumgartner and DuBois have been charged in several counties with the same charges of intimidation and retaliation for having had the audacity to express their opinion, to exercise free speech and freedom of the press as guaranteed by the First Amendment. While publicly admitting that neither of them made any physical threats to anyone, these officials are claiming that the writers are using their computers as “criminal tools”.

From Eerie Voices...

Judge Markus didn’t complain that he was “intimidated” until 4 months after the alleged intimidation occurred – and DuBois had a half dozen flirtatious conversations with Markus (one of which was about getting Markus’s autograph of “Ohio Civil Procedure” a book which Markus had written.  Markus laughed and said that his autograph “wasn’t worth anything”). 

After those conversations, DuBois published some very embarrassing quotations Markus made during a court hearing in Ottawa Count.  Only then did Markus approach Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s claiming that he had been “intimidated” by DuBois.

Baumgartner complained that Markus was handpicked by Chief Justice Tom Moyer to fix her cases.  After Markus declares Baumgartner  a “vexatious litigator,” enters two judgements against her – all in absentia – he then enters 34 criminal contempt citations, and has the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s office indict her on 14 felony counts of “intimidation.” 

After Baumgartner is placed in jail on a $360,000 bond – Markus moves forward with a contempt hearing against Elsebeth’s husband – and makes the declaration that he has “nothing to do with” the criminal charges filed against her even though Markus himself is the complaining witness!

Ottawa County is now considering more contempt charges against Joe Baumgartner for asking to have Markus disqualified from his cases.  (In 2003 Joe had agreed not to file any more civil actions in exchange for Ottawa County to stop harassing his wife.  Ottawa County is now saying that Joe broke his agreement and should be held in contempt for filing an affidavit of bias and disqualification against Judge Markus in February)

The MSM have, as usual, chosen to ignore this story, even though it goes to the heart of freedom of the press in the US.

Posted by Danny Carlton at August 15, 2005 11:39 AM

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