Just 2 Pages of Baxter's Testimony

Matt Westerhold
Mar 23, 2010

The Register news team has asked repeatedly, under the Ohio Revised Code public records law, for the invoices and expenses from attorney Margaret Cannon and retired judge Joseph Cirigliano Jr. for their work during the civil service hearings for fired police Chief Kim Nuesse.

I estimated their billable hours alone from the hearings would easily top $200,000. The entire cost of the Nuesse debacle that Matt Kline launched on city taxpayers likely already is approaching $1 million.

We also have asked for the opportunity to review and copy the transcripts of Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter's testimony that Cannon's firm used during the latter part of the prolonged hearing process.

These legitimate requests, under the ORC public records law, were not honored or handled by the city in any way resembling professionalism.

The attorney city law director Don Icsman hired to deal with this basic function had not even reviewed the public records law, in my opinion, or appear to have any understanding of it when he called me recently to discuss the requests.

But earlier this week I did receive a two-page photocopy of some of Baxter's testimony, and I thought I would share some highlights:

CANNON: Have you ever been investigated by the BCI (state Bureau of Criminal Investigation)?

BAXTER: You know, I think I have been.

CANNON: Could you tell us a little bit about that to the extent that there's public information?

BAXTER: Well, over the last 10 years, one reason, of course, is that unfortunately there was a fall-out in my family. It came about as a result of my mother's death, and a will contest and there was a lady by the name of Elsebeth Baumgartner who also more or less inserted herself in that unfortunate situation and made some very serious allegations. And when you're in that position that I'm in, you know, rightfully, wrongfully, but I would probably say rightfully, that someone outside here looks at those, not because of the credibility of the allegations, but simply because the allegations have been made. And, in fact, I knew it was going on because the editor of the paper was working at the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram years ago. Matt Westerhold called me ... and alerted me and indicated to me that the BCI had just been talking to him ... he assured me that he advised them that there was nothing to those allegations.   

Baxter did exactly as Cannon asked. He told "us just a little bit about it" and skated away whistling a happy song.

Baxter's memory of his conversation with me way back then is distorted and inaccurate, and his entire testimony at the hearings remains under wraps amid questions of credibility.

Meanwhile, state Attorney General Richard Cordray does his best to make sure the report of the estimated $100,000 BCI investigation of Baxter's alleged cocaine use never sees the light of day.


Julie R.

" Curious about "I's" comment that a "couple of loser brothers didn't get enough out of mommy's Will"......why didn't they? Because of criminal acts committed by attorneys and/or judges and a couple of Eeeeerie County financial institutions maybe? "


" Sorry, but I'm having a tough time getting on board with a bunch of convicted felons and a couple of loser brothers who didn't get enough out of mommy's will. They all have axes to grind. Perhaps those high profile attorneys need to be looking for some more credible witnesses. "


" According to Elsebeth Baumgartner, Krista Harris was set up on sham theft charges and wrongfully and unlawfully convicted due to case fixing in Erie County Common Pleas Court.

Documents filed in the court reveal that the State of Ohio violated Harris' rights in violation of Ohio Revised Code Section 2913.61(C)(1) and the Double Jeopardy Clause of the United States of America.

Harris has filed a number of affidavits against Kevin Baxter and yet none of them have been addressed by law enforcement. However, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Judges in Cincinnati believe that Ms. Harris was victimized by a corrupt judicial system in Erie County and therefore considered Harris' affidavit along with the affidavit of Baxter's brother, (Ejay Baxter) as evidence that prosecutorial misconduct was a factor in the conviction of 3 defendants in a murder trial.

One thing is for sure, Krista Harris conviction was fabricated and there is no way in He$$ that she will not be exonerated because the court documents exposes' all of their crimes.

Several high profile attorneys are currently investigating Baumgartner's and Harris' cases. It won't be long before the real truth is exposed. "


" It's rather apparent that he needs to take a drug test and submit to a polygraph. He claims that he's never used cocaine. Okay, well no one that I know believes that. How about: crack, heroin, LSD, marijuana, and your favorite (Ambien).

What, is he know claiming to have never used any illicit drugs in his life.

Everyone knows the truth and truth will come out. "


" If I were the Register, I'd call Krista Harris and pull her affidavidt that STATES she witnessed Kevin Baxter sniff cocaine....
Don't forget Kevin's never been investigated , instead he draws up an affidavidt for his defense. Something tells me Krista Harris is not lying.............

Baxter says Register made up cocaine story
County prosecutor files suit against newspaper

From Staff and Wire Reports

SANDUSKY, Ohio (AP) -- A county prosecutor in northern Ohio has sued a newspaper, accusing it of trying to destroy his reputation.

Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter says The Sandusky Register made up a story saying a narcotics agent had testified that Baxter had used cocaine. Baxter said in the lawsuit filed Thursday the testimony never took place and the newspaper knew its stories were wrong.

Register Publisher Doug Phares said the newspaper stands behind its reporting. Matt Westerhold, managing editor of the Register, was also named in the lawsuit. He declined to comment.

Baxter is seeking more than $50,000 in the lawsuit.

Baxter's attorney, Tom Merriman sent out a news release to several newspapers throughout the northern part of the state Thursday.

"For the past ten months, the Sandusky Register has spun a salacious and sensational tale of scandal: A cocaine-abusing county prosecutor who lies to government investigators and abuses his power to falsify public records. In reality, the Register's storyline is a complete fabrication," the release alleges.

"Driven by the actual malice of Managing Editor Matt Westerhold, the newspaper has perpetrated an unlawful campaign of defamation intended to destroy the career and reputation of Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter. Westerhold has made no secret of his contempt for Baxter and has falsely accused him of criminal activity ranging from drug abuse to falsification," the release goes on to allege.

"The reporting has been disgraceful," said Merriman in the release. "There is a clear public record which proves the Register knows its stories are false."

Baxter is being represented by the law firm of Landskroner Grieco Madden. Merriman said the lawsuit alleges the newspaper manufactured a storyline "built upon invented testimony, the distortion of innocuous facts, and the knowing re-publication of long discredited defamatory statements."

"I respect the role of the press," Baxter is quoted in Merriman's news release, "but journalism is supposed to be driven by the truth."

Merriman alleges in the news release, "the Register's attacks on Baxter grew out of Managing Editor Westerhold's public crusade to save the job of former Sandusky Police Chief Kim Nuesse. City Manager Matt Kline recently fired Nuesse following an independent investigation by attorney Michael Murman. Although Baxter did not initiate the investigation, Westerhold claimed in his column, 'Nuesse-gate is all about comfort for Baxter.'"

"While I don't normally recommend suing people who buy their ink by the barrel," added attorney Jack Landskroner in the news release, "Westerhold's extreme bias has distorted the newspapers' coverage well beyond the realm of constitutionally protected speech."

Merriman also alleges in the news release Westerhold "oversaw a series of defamatory articles, written by reporter Jason Singer. Singer's reports attempted to dredge up and bolster a long-discredited allegation that Kevin Baxter had abused cocaine. Specifically, Singer made up testimony and attributed it to an agent from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification. Singer wrote, 'A high-ranking undercover narcotics agent...testified there was a 'credible witness' who could substantiate the accusations.'"

Merriman said the cocaine rumor was originally circulated by Baxter's estranged brother Edward J. "Ejay" Baxter following a dispute over their parents' estate. Merriman said a grand jury indicted Edward in 2002 on 81 felony counts for sending out letters accusing his brother of drug abuse, case fixing, and various criminal acts. Merriman added Ejay Baxter pled guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice, "admitting in open court and again in a written statement that he had lied about his brother. The Sandusky Register covered the entire case."

"Six years later, the Sandusky Register resurrected the bogus accusations to defame and discredit Kevin Baxter. In his March 3 article, reporter Jason Singer wrote, 'Baxter's brother, Ejay Baxter, contends his brother regularly abused cocaine.' The article conspicuously omits Ejay Baxter's confession and conviction," wrote Merriman in the news release.

"I've never used cocaine and Matt Westerhold knows Ejay made it up," Kevin Baxter is quoted as saying in the news release. "He's given me no choice but to pursue this case."

Matt Westerhold did not return a phone call from The Gazette. "

Oliver Hardy

" I for one am all for an open and transparent government. And by government, I refer to all branches of government including any entity funded by tax dollars such as the Police and courts. Those in government seem to have forgotten that they must answer to the people, not the other way around. To ignore the people with "no comment" or refusal to release public records is something that would happen in Nazi Germany or the USSR. Lack of open government and lack of transparency in government tells me that the government is hiding something. "

Julie R.

" A prosecutor alleged to be on drugs is probably the LEAST of the serious issues in this county. Like retiree said......this county needs to be investigated from the top to the bottom! "


" SCHLICK, now I'm even more IMPRESSED that you caught my spelling error. Be honest, you had to look it up, just to be sure. Retiree, there are plenty of people in this area who buy illegal drugs every day, most of whom do not earn a lucrative wage, or even work for that matter. You and Julie R seem to miss the point...just because you don't like the way someone is acting or because you think that people now need to prove their innocence, you cannot compel another to take a drug test. "

Julie R.

" RE: "I" If my comments are "bizarre" that's only because the crap Erie County pulls off is more than bizarre. As for me being on drugs.....sorry, but I had to laugh at that one. That's even more comical then the "keep drinking the Nuesse Kool-Aid" crap........ "


" Come on "I", don't get mad. The average person can not afford to buy drugs. The people in high positions that make lucrative wages can afford them. I witnessed certain people the way they act and you don't need to be a rocket scientist to know their on something. With everything that has transpired recently, there is justification for this county to be investigated from top to bottom. It would stop all the negative talk. "




" SCHLICK, I've read many of your comments on these blogs and, as usual, you're wrong again. However, I was inpressed that you were able to spell "IQ" correctly. Good job! "


" I stands for lack of IQ. You're in the minus. "


" Retiree, sticks and stones...But, to answer your question, no. To Julie R, your comments are so bizarre that I'm sure that you must be on drugs. I think that you should have a drug test to prove that you aren't. Are you going to run right out to get one? I didn't think so. "

Julie R.

" Had the situation been reversed---had it been Nuesse alleged to be a drug user---I'm sure the city law director and/or the city's Cleveland attorneys would have demanded a drug test be taken immediately.

As per usual the city is showing how corrupt they are when it comes to illegal double standards. "


I've noticed some of the names of the original posters have been replaced with Matt Westerholds name.............Is there a reason for this? Does the Sandusky Register feel it's necessary to protect the identity of some posters because of thier view on the Nuesse fiasco or Baxters "alleged" drug use? Another poster on here wonders why as well.

M. Rum

The legal system in the city of Sandusky is comical!! For years Ms. Baumgartner made allegations about Mr. Baxter (and others down at E.C.C.P.C.), only she was "shut up". Im not saying everything she said was true or even most of it...but I am saying I dont think it's all lies!! You're OWN brother doesnt like you to the point where he wants you to go to jail?!! Something, I feel is most definitely "fishy" about Mr. Baxter, Mr. Cirriggliano, and Mrs. Cannon. And that's just to name a few down at E.C.C.P.C


I have worked for the baxters for a short time , and i can tell yea that i feel Keven and the rest of the family should have sad for there mothers passing and coming together to morn their loss

Instead it sounds to me that they were only concerned with their pockets, in my book i would have made a point that if anyone in the will was not happy with it , then they wouldnt get anything at all. there are no laws to tell who is writing the wills that they have to leave anything to anyone , I would have gave it all to the people that can use it and be happy with what they have been bless with

You know I lost my Father in 1987 and My mother called and ask me to go and sign off on my fathers will.

and i told her that i would , cause i have morals and they would not let me fight about something that never belong to me .i feel like if they wanted or was able to give me something , I would want them to give it to me when they are living , not when they have passed on. I might be wrong , but its the way i feel .

and the baxters as well as everyone else should really think about what i have wrote ,and then ask themselves , i am any better to to think the way i do ,



Julie R.

There are a couple of comments on here that say: "Matt Westerhold (not verified) says.....

These comments were made on April 4, 2009 at 11:20 AM and April 8, 2009 at 1:35 P.M.

I'm here to say that Matt Westerhold did NOT make those comments-----I did. I'm also here to say I would say anything that I ever have put on the SR blogs to Kevin Baxter's face.



Why did Kevin Baxter issue a check from the Furtherance of Justice Fund to Krista Harris, yet, it was made out to Janet Torres?

Who is Janet Torres?

How often did Kevin communicate with Krista while she was living in Cleveland?

Do you know why the federal judge stated that the check is NOT apart of the record?

Do you know if someone destroyed the cancelled check to conceal evidence of a crime?

When did you first become aware that the check was missing from the Erie County Auditors Office?

Does this mean that someone tampered with evidence?

What was the amount of the check?

Has anyone launched an official investigation regarding the missing check? If not, why?

How would you feel knowing an  investigation is underway regarding the missing check?