Special prosecutor Kevin Baxter seems none too pleased that he’s back in court for the infamous Board of Elections trial [“Guilt by Association,” January 31].
When we last left our hero, he was successfully prosecuting two low-level election board employees for allegedly rigging the 2004 presidential recount. There was no question the actions of Jacquie Maiden and Kathy Dreamer were technically illegal. There was also no question that the two women were simply following orders from higher-ups, who’d unknowingly been using the illegal practices for 20 years, and had done so with the approval of Assistant County Prosecutor Reno Orandini.
Still, Baxter conviced the jury that the women were hardened criminals who created an elaborate plan “to avoid a laborious recount.” Judge Peter Corrigan agreed and sentence the women to 18 months in prison.
But on August 6, the Ohio Supreme Court overturned Corrigan’s decision. Turns out he’d previously been represented by Assistant County Prosecutor Charles Hannan, Jr., who helped take down the women. You might say this was a small conflict of interest.
The case was thrown to Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold, who agreed to proceed with a retrial. While Maiden and Dreamers’ camp celebrated, Baxter decided it was time for a bit of tit for tat.
He filed a motion attempting to disqualify Dreamer’s attorney, Roger Synenberg, who served on the board of elections for 15 years.
Though this fact was made infinitely clear before, during, and after the trial, Baxter is now claiming that Synenberg has his own conflict.
Even more revealing is that Baxter now seems to admit he has bigger fish to fry than the sewing circle he originally targeted. A new motion identifies Dreamer as a key witness to crimes committed by her bosses, including assistant chief Gwen Dillingham.
At this rate, expect him to man up and admit it was all an honest mistake by 2019. -- Denise Grollmus