A federal judge doesn’t buy that former Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges inadvertently shared a witness’s personal identifying information on his public website.
“The Court finds it entirely incredible that Defendant posted the unredacted information inadvertently,” U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black wrote in a Friday order, banning Borges from sharing “any information that does or can be used to identify, harass, intimidate or harm” the witness.
Borges is accused of participating in a more-than $60 million bribery scheme to pass and defend a $1 billion bailout for two nuclear plants in northern Ohio. Borges and ex-Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder have pleaded not guilty. A trial is planned for January.
A key element of federal prosecutors’ case against Borges involves recorded conversations with Republican lobbyist Tyler Fehrman, who was working on the effort to block the bailout bill.
Borges has said he never bribed Fehrman for information about the anti-bailout effort. On a website titled Borges’ Legal Defense Fund, Borges has shared information about those accusing him of crimes.
Recently, that included Franklin County Auditor’s Office documents that detailed Fehrman’s social security number, address, phone number and other personal identifying information. Prosecutors say that information was shared in an attempt to threaten or intimidate Fehrman, a witness in the case against Borges.
Borges, in a filing, argued that he shared the information inadvertently and quickly removed it when informed of the problem. He also said that the Franklin County Auditor’s Office should have redacted the identifying information.
Black wasn’t so sure. The judge pointed out that the uploaded document repeatedly lists personal information about Fehrman and his spouse, “all of which are listed in large, bold font, at the very top of the page.”
“The information is not discreet,” Black wrote.
Read Black’s decision here:
Jessie Balmert is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Akron Beacon Journal, Cincinnati Enquirer, Columbus Dispatch and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Federal judge reprimands Borges for sharing witness’s personal info