Dearborn County Law
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) - Prosecutors say it is intimidation, but the defense for a blogger says it is free speech about elected officials.
Daniel Brewington is a blogger from Cincinnati who was indicted by a Dearborn County grand jury in March on charges which included two counts of Intimidation (Class A Misdemeanor) and single counts of Intimidation of a Judge (Class D Felony), Attempt to Commit Obstruction of Justice (Class D Felony), Perjury (Class D Felony), and Unlawful Disclosure of Grand Jury Proceedings (Class B Misdemeanor).
Brewington’s jury trial began Monday in Dearborn Superior Court before special judge Brian Hill of Rush County. Five women and one man will decide his fate after hearing arguments.
In his web postings, the 37-year-old allegedly intimidated Dearborn Circuit Court Judge James Humphrey, Humphrey’s wife, and custody evaluator Dr. James E. Connor in the 2007 divorce case which Humphrey oversaw.
There have been a number of star witnesses called by the prosecution during the first two days of the trial. Humphrey testified Tuesday. Sheriff Mike Kreinhop and Brewington’s ex-wife are expected to testify Wednesday.
It will then be the defenses’ turn to call witnesses. It is unclear if Brewington’s counsel will ask him to testify.
Although he does not have access to computers in jail at the Dearborn County Law Enforcement Center, Brewington has continued to blog with the help of his mother and brother Matt.
Hill is the third judge to be on the case. Dearborn County Superior Court II Judge Sally Blankenship recused herself after setting Brewington’s bond at $600,000 – more than most violent offenders arrested in the county. The second judge, John Westhafer of Decatur County, asked to be removed from the case because of his personal relationship with Judge Humphrey.
Brewington asked for a bond reduction in August. Dearborn County Prosecutor Aaron Negangard alleged during a bond reduction hearing that Brewington had asked a fellow inmate, Keith L. Jones, at the Hamilton County Jail in Cincinnati – the place Brewington turned himself in after the Dearborn County charges were filed - where he could find a person to perform a drive-by on a judge’s residence.
Negangard also revealed that Brewington owed his ex-wife more than $122,000. Judge Hill denied the bond reduction based on the evidence.
Brewington denied the drive-by threat in subsequent blog entries. No charges were ever brought by authorities in Indiana or Ohio in connection with the alleged drive-by threat.
David Kelly, a pro bono lawyer for Brewington, obtained and has publicly shared an inmate movement history from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office which contends Brewington was never in the same place as Jones during his three day stay at the Hamilton County Jail.
In August, Brewington filed a pending civil suit in U.S. District Court of Southern Indiana naming as defendants the county and various officials including Judge Humphrey and his wife, Heidi, Negangard, and Kreinhop.
He is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. Kelly is representing Brewington in the civil suit.