- Associated Press - Thursday, June 5, 2014

CINCINNATI (AP) - The attorney for an Ohio juvenile court judge set to go on trial in September said Thursday that accusations against his client of backdating documents stem from a longstanding practice in the court where she works and that she’s being targeted for political reasons.

Attorney Clyde Bennett argued that backdating documents was the norm in Hamilton County Juvenile Court before Judge Tracie Hunter took office in 2012.

Bennett made the comments at a hearing on motions ahead of Hunter’s trial, including requests from Hunter to have the charges against her dropped, and in lieu of that, a change of venue for the trial.

Hamilton County Judge Norbert Nadel said he’ll decide those issues at a later date.

Hunter has pleaded not guilty to nine felony charges of tampering with evidence, forgery and theft in office.

Bennett asked Nadel to issue an order for prosecutors to provide him with any documents they may have regarding court clerks backdating court documents.

Special prosecutor R. Scott Croswell said that he and his team have shared all evidence they plan to use at trial and won’t do Bennett’s work for him.

“No one’s trying to hide anything,” Croswell said.

Hunter became a judge in 2012 following a lengthy legal battle over disputed 2010 juvenile judge election results. After her indictment, Hunter suggested that there were opponents to her because of changes she wants in juvenile court and because she is a black Democrat.

In a motion filed Tuesday asking for the charges to be dropped, Hunter alleges that Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters unfairly chose private attorneys who once represented him as special prosecutors in her case. Deters told The Cincinnati Enquirer that Hunter was desperate.

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