FOX19 Investigates: Tracie Hunter indicted again

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Tracie Hunter now faces nine felony charges in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.

A Hamilton County grand jury on Tuesday indicted Hunter on another charge -- misuse of credit cards. That's a fifth degree felony. A grand jury last week indicted her on eight felonies.

The latest indictment says from Nov. 6 to Nov. 20, Hunter used a Hamilton County/Fifth Third Bank credit card on Supreme Court filing fees. The amount Hunter is accused of charging is $1,000 to $7,500.

Hunter will be arraigned at 8:30 a.m. Friday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.

The other charges are two counts of tampering with evidence, two counts of forgery, two counts of having an unlawful interest in a public contract and two counts of theft in office.

Special prosecutors Scott Croswell and Merlyn Shiverdecker said in a statement last Friday that the tampering with evidence and forgery charges involve the backdating of judicial entries to reflect that they had been created and signed on a certain date when in fact they had not.

The unlawful interest charge involves Hunter's unlawful conduct regarding her brother Steven Hunter's employment with the Hamilton County Juvenile Court, prosecutors say.

The theft charges are from Hunter's alleged unlawful expenditures of public funds to pay unauthorized filing fees with the Ohio Supreme Court.

The charges stem in part from allegations by a county prosecutor that Hunter backdated at least two court records in "a conscious act of deception" to prevent some of her rulings from being appealed and possibly overturned.

Hunter also is accused of using her county-issued credit card to pay court fees stemming from lawsuits against her, and ordering that her brother - who used to provide security for the court - be paid overtime.

Hunter has not many any public comments about her charges but she did send an email last Friday to juvenile court staff.

"I want you to know it has been my humble pleasure to serve you. Many of you expressed and understood that Hamilton County Juvenile Court was not ready for its first African-American and Democrat Judge," she said. "I have learned and understood that change is difficult for most people, especially after 110 years."

Richard Blake, Hunter's Cleveland attorney, told FOX19's Lisa Hutson last Friday, that he hasn't seen a copy of the indictment. He said he's surprised and disappointed that the charges were filed before having an opportunity to meet with the special prosecutors.

"I have spoken with Mrs. Hunter and she is surprised and disappointed as well," he said.

The Ohio Supreme Court last Friday disqualified Hunter from serving as a judge while her case is pending. She will be paid her $121,350 annual salary while the case is pending.

Related content:

FOX19 Investigates: Grand jury indicts Judge Tracie Hunter

The Associated Press contributed.

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Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Copyright 2014 WXIX. All rights reserved.