Sheriff’s Office Served With Additional Subpoenas

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Additional subpoenas relating to a special grand jury of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office have been issued to the Athens County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Patrick Kelly confirmed Thursday that four grand jury subpoenas were received, but would not disclose their contents. Kelly said he has been informed that releasing the information could be considered obstruction of justice.

Past grand jury subpoenas relating to the grand jury have sought records.

The Messenger made a public records request for the most recent subpoenas. Allan Regas, an attorney representing the Athens County

Sheriff’s Office, responded that the subpoenas would not be provided because grand jury materials are not public record, and Regas also noted that a judge has sealed the proceedings.

Kelly did say, however, that the subpoenas do not relate to previous allegations that have been made against him.

A special grand jury convened in Athens by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office has met on four days since June. While the attorney general’s office has not said what the grand jury relates to, it’s known that the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation has investigated allegations involving Kelly and his disposal of county records and vehicles, sale of county scrap and audit findings. Kelly called the subpoenas “harassment.”

“It’s burdensome for the county and for my office because my staff has a job to do,” Kelly said, explaining that complying with the subpoenas would take staff away from their normal duties.

Kelly asserted that the investigation “lacks integrity” and is an attempt to remove him from office — something he noted couldn’t be accomplished in the last election.

Attorney General Mike DeWine has previously called the notion that the investigation has been politically motivated “absurd.” He also has called BCI — the investigative arm of the attorney general’s office — “a very professional organization.”

This isn’t the first time that the sheriff’s office has been served with subpoenas relating to the grand jury. In August, four were served. Kelly attempted to block a subpoena seeking records relating to his office’s use of confidential informants.

Judge Patricia Ann Cosgrove, who was appointed by the Ohio Supreme Court to hear matters relating to the grand jury, told The Messenger in September that she would review records to determine if they should be turned over, but declined to say what records were involved. WOUB, a news partner of The Messenger, reported in October that Cosgrove had made a ruling, but that it was sealed.

Regas said Cosgrove sealed the grand jury proceedings.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty (or his designee) was appointed in September to represent the Athens County Sheriff’s Office in matters relating to the grand jury. McGinty has assigned the case to Regas