Verdict in trial of Bedford Court Judge Harry Jacob

CLEVELAND -- A verdict from Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Brian Corrigan for Bedford Municipal Court Judge Harry Jacob III is in.

Corrigan has found Jacob not guilty of tampering with records and not guilty of obstructing justice.

Corrigan also found Jacob not guilty on the first soliciting count and guilty on three other soliciting counts.

In total, Jacob found guilty of five misdemeanors, three counts of soliciting and two counts of falsification (regarding a fraudulent journal entry in Bedford Municipal Court records).

He was found not guilty on all the felony counts.

His trial concluded about 2 weeks ago, heard as a bench trial by the judge. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 15.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty released a statement late Thursday afternoon:

"When the local judge and law director patronized their town's brothel or prostitutes, the pimp and his employees naturally felt protected. These two fostered the corrupt environment that allowed a prostitution ring to operate with impunity in Bedford. They were dishonest with the citizens and hampered the police.

Judge Jacob's excuse that he made "poor lifestyle choices" is an affront to the intelligence of the citizens of Bedford. Judge Jacob did more than sleep with prostitutes and do favors for them at court. He took advantage of poor, young, drug-addicted women, at least one of whom had been molested as a child.

Jacob also did more than violate the public's trust, he raped it. He disgraced his city and demeaned the judiciary of this state. He deserves a stay in jail – a very long one.

We are dismayed that this case has dragged out for the better part of a year. Now they have delayed sentencing for six weeks for a pre-sentence investigation which the rules will not allow on this case. We are filing a motion asking the court to advance sentencing to next week. Judge Jacob has been collecting his full $114,100 salary for nearly a year while he has not been working and the taxpayers have been paying $456.40 a day for a visiting judge. This must end.

Judge Jacob and his attorney made an agreement to turn over his phone and laptop computer if the police would not execute a search warrant at his home. Instead, the judge deleted phone messages with one of his prostitutes at her instruction when they discovered the police were on to them. Then the judge deleted proof of his illegal sexual liaisons from his laptop and refused to give police or the court the passwords when he did turn over the computer. That was clear proof of tampering with evidence. We plan to appeal the court's erroneous conclusions."

Jacob, 57, of Solon faced 11 remaining counts.

Corrigan dismissed other counts of bribery and dereliction of duty -- and seven other counts -- during the trial.

Corrigan dismissed bribery and dereliction of duty charges -- and seven other charges -- after Jacob's attorney Kevin Spellacy asked Corrigan to dismiss all charges in Jacob's bench trial.

Also dismissed were promoting prostitution and dereliction of duty charges, after Spellacy and David Grant said prosecutors failed to show enough evidence.

The 11 remaining counts include several counts of soliciting sex from prostitutes, tampering with records, failure to report a felony, possessing criminal tools, obstruction of justice and falsification.

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Studio 54 was in the Walsh Professional Building on Northfield Road in Bedford. It was a "massage parlor" that engaged in prostitution. Owner James Walsh has pleaded not guilty to prostitution charges.

On Nov. 19, Jacob took a medical leave of absence from the court right after investigators form the prosecutor's office served search warrants at Bedford Municipal Court. In December, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended Jacob from the bench but he is still drawing his $114,000 salary.

Former Bedford Law Director Ken Schuman, 43, was sentenced Wednesday. He was also charged in connection with Studio 54.

RELATED : Former Bedford law director pleads guilty to public corruption

RELATED : Former Bedford Law Director Ken Schuman sentenced to jail

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