(Cincinnati) -- Special prosecutors say they reviewed thousands of pages of documents, and interviewed dozens of witnesses before taking the case to a grand jury. That panel indicted Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Tracie Hunter on eight counts, ranging from forgery and tampering with evidence, to theft in office, and ethics violations.
Judge Hunter has already been in court; the subject of lawsuits alleging she wrongly barred reporters access to court records. And she claimed the County Prosecutor wasn't adequately defending her. A higher court ruled she either had to accept their counsel, or pay for her own. Now, Hunter is accused of using a court credit card to pay the filing fees in that instance. If true, that would be theft from office, two of the 8 charges she's facing now.
The indictment alleges at least two documents were backdated. That led to the counts of forgery and tampering with evidence.
Hunter also allegedly ordered prosecution documents be given to the defense in a case involving her brother. For that, she's charged with having unlawful interest in a public contract. Her brother had been a guard in the juvenile court system.
She has been temporarily removed from her position as juvenile court judge, and a visiting judge will fill in. If she's convicted, Hunter will be removed from the bench permanently. A trial date has not been set. Judge Hunter has been suspended with pay until the case is settled.