DeWine's prosecutor wasn't texting

Donahue was on the phone as sister of dead man testified Tuesday
Register
May 29, 2014

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.

Click here to read related articles published in the Register

Comments

my oh my

The family is trying every avenue to get something/ anything to stick..,..

Jakes Dad

Stand for something or fall for anything!

mamaC

Maybe he was playing Candy Crush while she was testifying then... Either way the question here is did he have a cell phone in his hand or not???? Plain & Simple

sash

Why would it matter? The Jurors were questioning her at that point and it's their questions and opinions that matter, not Donahue's.

Lil DAB

It MATTERS...because the prosecutor's office is the responsible party to call on and submit evidence and testimony to get an indictment. This blatant disregard for respect to the court and jurors; and ignoring what is going on during these proceedings further proves, this representative of DeWine has no intention of fulfilling his responsibilities!

sash

If an attorney isn't sitting at attention and listening, it's disrespecting the court and jurors? I don't think I've ever attended a trial, or seen one on TV, where an attorney isn't reading papers or writing notes during testimony. And with all respect to Miss Burdine, what could she testify to? She could testify to what her brother was like and to what her family has gone through, but none of that is relevant to a criminal indictment. She was able to tell her story and the jurors could ask any questions they wanted. I guess I must be missing something, because I can't figure out what exactly Mr. Donahue was supposed to do with her.

Babo

Then why did he call an irrelevant witness?

OakieHarbor

It matters due to the fact this is a state employee who is being paid to do a job! Not very many persons now-a-days are allowed to use cell phones while on duty. That is the key point here D U T Y not the dereliction of such!
However people in denial will make any and every excuse possible to enable certain behaviors.

DickTracey

The text messages could have been easily deleted, by the time the agents arrived at the court house. They are only relying on the physical examination of each phone. The only real way to prove that he was not texting is to get his phone records.

Does anyone remember the teenage girl that rear ended and killed the guy on the Harley? She told LE that she was not texting at the time. She had deleted the message before they arrived. When they got the records it showed she was texting and she was also charged with obstructing.

Either way, texting or reading the Register, the evidence is clear, he was not paying any attention to the witness on the stand.

Lil DAB

Pretty safe to assume the 2 agents that tracked Laurie down was told WHAT to ask, and from the timeframe of going to her house, to talking to her AT the courthouse, to going IN the courthouse and approach Donahue....Donahue had PLENTY of time to be warned to delete and get his story straight with Hackjob, I mean Hackley. Furthermore, in the News Mess article Hackley claims Donahue (flat out) denied he was texting at all! (No one else in the court room would notice, huh?) Then he proceeds to twist the blame on witnesses in the hallway?
Corrupt all the way! Disgusting and these liars need to be called out!
They should be representing "We the People" not covering their own A$$e$!

Einfach genug III

Hmm, I don't see in the story that 2 of the burdines were warned about approaching and asking the waiting witnesses questions for example, their names, what they were going to say etc. Odd that the SR reporter didn't include that in the "story", I'd like to ask the question of the reporter " Did you tell those two it is okay to eavesdrop"?

Lil DAB

Were they? You were there or know this how? Wasn't there a court bailiff present to control hallway conversations and witnesses? OR was he busy whisking a witness into a private room again for instruction of testimony? (referencing another recent grand jury case witness tampering.)

Matt Westerhold

You're assuming Laurie Burdine was eavesdropping and your suggestion a Register reporter offered legal advice to anyone is incorrect. You're the commenter, Einfach, who doesn't believe the rules apply to you, so it's not surprising you would make erroneous assumptions without anything to substantiate what you suggest.  

Einfach genug III

Mathew..Mathew..Mathew ......, did I mention a specific Burdine? Nice way to dance around the question. For all appearances one could consider your reply as deflecting or ignoring my question, "did your reporter offer the suggestion/professional journalist opinion to those 2
women that it was okay to eaves drop"? Asking a simple straight forward question.

Matt Westerhold

Again, Einfach, your willingness to cheat the rules clearly shows the value of your commentary.  

Einfach genug III

How am I cheating the rules?

Ctwhalers

Seemd you were I the courthouse to know that information. Plus officers were being loud when they were talking. Plus some people have good hearing that they can hear from a distance. Plus no one was eavesdropping when you guys where loud at the other end. Yes I said you guys cause you would have had to been down with them to say the things you have said.

Jakes Dad

Losing control? Or trust?

Babo

Great job SR and witnesses! Keep scrupulously documenting all actions and statements by the AG's staff such as the PR in the NM in order to support the request to the Public Integrity unit of the USDOJ in Washington DC for an investigation into alleged obstruction of justice in grand jury proceedings.

In public corruption cases it's usually not the actual crimes that trip politicians up but the cover up of the original crimes. e.g. Watergate.

Jakes Dad

Anyone ask the good judge what his rule's are on cell phone's used in his court room?

JMOP

Could've brought and used the wife cell phone to court knowing they wouldn't look at hers?

lmalley77

Of COURSE they are going to say he WASN'T texting!!!!! Do you think that they are just going to readily come out and say that's what he was doing? I don't think for one second, that even if he was texting, that they will ever admit he was! Do I think they will even subpoena his phone records to check? Nope! Why? I don't think I even need to explain, those of us with a brain know why. As someone else already said, if he wasn't texting, then what had him so intrigued that he didn't even realize that the witness had stopped mid sentence until she interrupted whatever it was that he was doing on his phone? Candy crush????? Come on!!!!

Laughingatwttb

His wife's phone, now that's a stretch. Just another completely ridiculous guess. People don't have to be loud for everyone to hear them. What is funny is the people that hear something and automatically ASSUME people are talking about, or getting information directly from someone inside the grand jury proceedings.

JMOP

Yes a guess, but a logical one.

I find rude people rediculous.

Laughingatwttb

It's ridiculous, not rediculous

JMOP

Thank you for the spelling correction. Have a lovely night. :)

Laughingatwttb

Aw you too and you're welcome

JMOP

Thank you.
I had to change the day to night, realizing the time.

Ctwhalers

When you hear things related to the case then we know what they are talking about. But any how if the messenger was there you might get a story other than the the one they put in by copying someone else

Laughingatwttb

There's a lot of talk about this case. I was in that courthouse a few times over the last few weeks, and I can hear people yammering on and on about it. Their voices have a tendency to travel throughout that courthouse. Anyone that's been in there knows that. I'm very skeptical that there were people talking about anything that the rest of county doesn't already know. So in all honesty, who cares what they were talking about because chances are, it's been talked about before this and will probably be talked about after this.

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