CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Tracie Hunter's turn to defend the nine felony counts against her started Friday afternoon, one day after prosecutors rested their case against the suspended Hamilton County judge. Hunter's trial was expected to run as long as six weeks; Monday marks the start of the fourth week.
Hunter's side called Lisa Miller to the stand. Miller worked as Hunter's filing clerk until Hunter was suspended in January after the Hamilton County Grand Jury handed up a nine count indictment against Hunter. Miller's testimony has centered on back dating allegations against Hunter.
Hunter is accused of signing orders with dates stamped on them from weeks before. The reason, prosecutors argued, was to force Hamilton County juvenile court prosecutors from appealing her decisions in adoption, custody and juvenile criminal case.
Miller told jurors Friday that she was the one who entered Hunter's cases into the county's computerized case management system. The entries were dated to reflect hearing dates, but the actual order entered would often have dates from weeks before. The problem for prosecutors was, they had deadlines to file appeals and could not file appeals until Hunter's orders showed up in the case file. When the orders did show up, prosecutors said the back dated orders made it look like the orders were in the file the entire time, which could have caused cases to be dropped.
Miller told jurors Hunter never told her to back date any of the orders in which the suspended judge is facing charges. Prosecutors have said from the start that Hunter back dated the orders in order to commit frauds against the county by preventing prosecutors from appealing.
Hunter's attorney continues his direct examination of Miller Monday. Once Hunter's side is finished, prosecutors can question Miller further.
Friday, Hunter's trial judge Norbert Nadel denied Hunter's request to dismiss the charges against her, telling Hunter's side that the state presented enough evidence to allow a jury to decide the charges.
A decision on whether Hunter will take the stand has not been made public by her defense attorney.
You can continue to follow FOX19 investigative reporter Jody Barr on twitter @FOX19Jody for the latest in this case.