The Ohio Attorney General's Office has denied the Register's request for the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification report into Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter's alleged cocaine use.
On Wednesday, Maura O'Neil Jaite, the senior assistant to Attorney General Richard Cordray, cited Ohio Revised Code, which states the investigation is not public if "disclosure of the records would create a high probability that an uncharged suspect's identity would be revealed."
Consequently, Jaite said her office couldn't hand over the report. But Tim Smith, a public records expert, said disclosure isn't an issue in this case, and the Attorney General's Office made the wrong decision.
Editor's Note: The print edition of this story stated the following: According to the BCI report, which was presented as evidence at the Kim Nuesse Civil Service hearing, the government had a "credible witness" who confirmed Baxter's cocaine use.
The document from the state's Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation, which was not available at the time of publication, states the following:
"(Special Agent) Dendinger has joined the investigation and is conducting further interviews of more alleged witnesses to illegal drug activity. Krista Harris, who claimed to have indictable information against the subject, has failed to cooperate fully with agents and has been considered to be unreliable.
"To date, only one witness of the myriad names provided to investigators has provided reliable information regarding the subject's drug use. The information, however, is about cocaine usage five years or more ago and is not sufficient for probable cause.
"Follow up: Further interviews of alleged witnesses to whom agents have been referred."