(Cincinnati, OH)--(AP)-- A judge has ruled on a Juvenile Court Judge's challenges to the nine criminal charges against her.
Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Norbert Nadel ruled Tuesday on pretrial motions in the case against Judge Tracie Hunter, scheduled for trial on September 8. She has pleaded not guilty to felony charges, including tampering with evidence, forgery and theft in office. The Democrat has blamed politics for the charges.
A Hunter motion says the special prosecutors for her case are attorneys who once represented County Prosecutor Joe Deters in an investigation and might have a conflict of interest.
But, Judge Nadel rejected the motion to dismiss, saying the special prosecutors were appointed properly. He also refused to split the case into three separate trials, as the defense requested, deciding that one trial would be more efficient, and would better serve Hunter, the court, and the public.
Defense attorney Clyde Bennett also requested a change of venue, claiming there was too much pre-trial publicity for a fair hearing. Nadel said they would try to seat an impartial jury, and if that couldn't be done, then they'd look at moving the trial to another county.
Bennett says he was not surprised by the decisions, and says it doesn't change his defense strategy at all. Bennett says he simply plans to show that Hunter is not guilty of the charges. "Judge Hunter has not done anything wrong. She's a God-fearing woman, she has her faith in God, and she knows she'll be vindicated because she didn't do a thing wrong." Bennett says their faith is in God, not in the system.
In January, the Ohio Supreme Court disqualified Hunter from acting as a judge after an indictment alleged that she backdated court records and misused a county credit card.