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DeWine's prosecutor wasn't texting

Register • May 30, 2014 at 7:55 AM

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office looked at lead prosecutor Matt Donahue's personal and office cell phones and determined he wasn't texting as a witness testified in front of a grand jury investigating the 2007 jailhouse death of Craig Burdine. 

The determination was made after a public records request from the Register. 

"We will provide a full response to your request in a reasonable period of time," Jeff Clark, assistant attorney general, wrote in reply to the request. "As our initial review and response, please be advised that there are no responsive text messages to or from Mr. Donahue on either his employer-issued phone or his personal cell phone," 

Laurie Burdine said she stopped her testimony in reply to a grand juror's question in mid-sentence on Tuesday when she saw Donahue using his phone. He didn't notice the interruption, she said, until she asked him about using the phone while she was testifying.

She said she told Donahue she became concerned earlier in the day Tuesday that information from the hearing was being conveyed to law enforcement officers waiting in the hallway to testify when she overheard them talking. 

Sandusky County sheriff's Deputy Eric Arquette said he was reading live grand jury updates at sanduskyregister.com and telling other officers about the posts. That's what Laurie Burdine overheard, Arquette said. 

DeWine sent two agents to the courthouse Tuesday afternoon after Laurie Burdine testified to talk with her about her testimony. Donahue's planned time table for Tuesday's hearing also appears to have been derailed, with numerous witnesses waiting to testify who weren't called into the hearing room.

Witness calls out prosecutor

DeWine has refused to say whether he was seeking criminal indictments, or whether he would call Lucas County deputy coroner Cynthia Beisser, forensic pathologist Michael Baden or any of the officers present at the jail when Craig Burdine died. 

AG spokewoman Lisa Hackley did contact the Register on Wednesday and requested a correction to a headline with an an article in the print edition of the Register. The headline was unclear and inaccurate and a correction was published Thursday. 

Hackley also requested a correction referencing specific information in the article about an interruption in the proceeding. The article stated: "Two law enforcement officer(s) were brought in to continue testimony while some jury members and witnesses left for lunch." 

The Register reviewed Hackley's request and determined the information reported was accurate based on the reporter's observation of what occurred. Hockley was informed of that and advised the information could be reviewed again if she felt a further review was warranted.  

Hackley also contacted the Fremont News-Messenger, which does not appear to be regularly attending the grand jury hearings or reporting updates, with her concerns about the Register's coverage.

The News-Messenger published an article Thursday reporting Hackley's concerns, AG's office clarifies. The News-Messenger article appears based on a press release.

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