Judge Appoints Special Prosecutor To Represent Sheriff In Grand Jury Matters

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Athens County Common Pleas Judge L. Alan Goldsberry Tuesday has appointed a special prosecutor to represent the Office of the Sheriff “pending the Ohio Attorney General’s investigation of Patrick Kelly in matters related to the investigation.”

Timothy J. McGinty, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney, or his designee, has agreed to the representation and has been appointed.

The judge’s appointing entry indicates that McGinty will serve at no cost to Athens County.

A copy of Judge Goldsberry’s order is below.

Goldsberry Order

The appointment occurred at the “consent” of the Athens County Commissioners and the request of the Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn.

Blackburn denies there is a conflict but says that an “appearance of conflict” has been created.

“While the office of the Athens County Prosecutor has no conflict and has provided appropriate legal advice when requested, it is clear that the criminal allegations against Patrick Kelly have caused conflict between the sheriff and his staff, and an appearance of conflict between the sheriff and the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office,” Blackburn wrote in the petition requesting appointment by the court.

The Petition of the Prosecutor is below.

Blackburn Petition

In addition, Blackburn said in a statement: "My office has provided appropriate advice to the Sheriff’s Office during this investigation and that a special prosecutor was not necessary. However, the repeated allegations and attacks by Patrick Kelly have caused a false sense of conflict. I am grateful that the Honorable Timothy J. McGinty agreed to handle this matter, at no cost to the Athens County taxpayers, and that he will provide the legal advice necessary to represent the Sheriff’s office, as any County Prosecutor would.”

“As Athens County Prosecutor, my office has spent the last year successfully disposing of 97.49 percent of charged defendants. I will not make any other public comment regarding the investigation of Patrick Kelly until the investigation is over,” Blackburn continues. “While there have been many opportunities to respond to attacks and lash out with allegations, that is not what I was elected to do. I believe in the criminal justice system and am honored to represent the State of Ohio on behalf of the citizens of Athens County. Thus, I am confident that at the conclusion of this, the truth will be made public.”

See the entirety of the Press Release from the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office below.

Press Release From County Prosecutors