Lawsuit means jail for Baumgartner

CLEVELAND First she was disbarred. Now she's behind bars. An eight-year prison senten
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



First she was disbarred. Now she's behind bars.

An eight-year prison sentence for a Cuyahoga County conviction was imposed on disbarred Oak Harbor attorney Elsebeth Baumgartner Friday after it was found she broke her bond conditions, said assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor Dan Kasaris.

"She once again failed to follow the rules," he said.

Baumgartner, 52, filed a lawsuit in April in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. As part of the bond conditions Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold had ordered Baumgartner not to file any lawsuits, Kasaris said.

"The lawsuit was full of typical Baumgartner slander," he added.

In the lawsuit, Baumgartner was suing the president of the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy, Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Moyer, Ottawa County Prosecutor Mark Mulligan, Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter and others.

She alleged misconduct on behalf of the defendants in part by revoking her license to practice pharmacy, the lawsuit states. The defendants also engaged in a conspiracy to "defame and discredit" her for representing an African American female in a criminal case, she alleged. Baumgartner had asked for $36,000.

"It's classic Elsebeth," Baxter said. "It's all the same. Every kind of crime known is alleged in there with the chief justice and other folks."

Baumgartner was sentenced in January 2007. She had made threatening Internet postings and e-mails to a judge who oversaw the legal proceedings in two 2004 defamation cases against her, and a third case to have her declared a "vexatious litigator."

She was also accused of intimidating a former colleague with whom she operated a Web site.

Baumgartner was convicted on 11 counts of intimidation and four counts of retaliation -- all felonies. She had pleaded no contest to the charges. Her appeal to that case is still pending, Kasaris said.

Baumgartner voluntarily dismissed her complaint Thursday.

Prior to her criminal appeal being filed, Baumgartner had served about six months in prison.

"Most people are not afforded the opportunity of an appeal bond," Kasaris said.

The court of appeals could grant another appeal bond if they choose to, he said.

But her friends say this is just a way to silence her.

"She's not doing good because they just keep screwing with her," said friend Shawn Baxter, who answered the phone Friday at her Oak Harbor home. "They're saying that she can't have freedom of speech."

Baumgartner's husband, Joe, had similar thoughts.

"It's just a mess," he said. "It's just one more thing they are trying to drag my family through the mud. She should not have had her bond revoked in the first place."