Prosecutor: Judge looking for prostitutes while on bench

CLEVELAND -- Cuyahoga County prosecutors say his computer history and a check of the access keycards at court proves that Bedford Municipal Court Judge Harry Jacob III was surfing the web for prostitutes while hearing cases on the bench and, when he found out he was being investigated, also surfed the web for a possible defense -- sex addiction.

Cuyahoga County prosecutors are asking Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Brian J. Corrigan to force Bedford Municipal Court Judge Harry Jacob III to turn over the password to the encrypted files on his personal computer.

Jacob, 55, of Solon, turned over his computer, his cell phone and his tablet when asked, all to avoid a search of his Solon home.

Investigators say they have found 4,500 unencrypted "artifacts" in his computer logged in 2013.

On Monday, Jacob refused to turn over his password for the encrypted files and invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself.

Jacob pleaded not guilty to the new charges Wednesday afternoon. A pretrial for these charges is scheduled for 10 a.m. March 31.

In a motion to compel filed with the court late Tuesday, prosecutors wrote that they've already learned that Jacob was surfing the web for prostitutes while hearing cases on the bench. They know he was there because of Jacob's key-card access records they obtained from Bedford Municipal Court.

They say an example of the web browsing was for Studio54, which another investigation uncovered was a brothel being run on the third floor of the Walsh Professional Center on Northfield Road in Bedford. Jacob is also tied to the brothel through original charges of promoting prostitution and soliciting sex he pleaded not guilty to in January.

In their motion, prosecutors wrote: "...Defendant Jacob's computer, which Jacob voluntarily provided to investigators with a consent to search authorization, contains encrypted data. Since that consent, however, investigators have uncovered compelling evidence against Jacob that has led to additional charges. Investigators also have learned that Jacob's computer hard drive is partially encrypted with a program called "MacKeeper." Investigators have been unsuccessful in their attempts to get past the password protection. Jacob, through counsel, has refused to provide the investigators with the encryption password. The State therefore seeks to compel him to provide a password for this encrypted data."

On July 1, 2013, at 9:54 a.m., Jacob's computer logged the creation of a web artifact.

In the motion to compel document, prosecutors wrote: "The artifact, which has been redacted in this document, is a internet ad for the Studio54 brothel that James Walsh operated within the City of Bedford itself. Investigators have identified and spoken to the female in the advertisement. Significantly, Jacob's computer created this artifact at a time when investigators have confirmed that Jacob was at the Bedford Municipal Court hearing cases, according to Jacob's key-card access and docket records."

Investigators also uncovered web artifacts relevant to the current charges, they wrote.

"Of the 4,500 images, the clear majority of Jacob's web artifacts pertain to searches for prostitution related activity. Additionally, Jacob used his computer in ways that demonstrated consciousness of guilt. On November, 7, 2013, one of Jacob's prostitutes participated in a recorded, controlled call that led to Jacob learning that he was now actively under investigation for the Studio54 case. The only website Jacob visited that same evening following the recorded call was an October 11, 2013 article on relating the Studio54 investigation. The following day, on November 8, 2013—while he was at a continuing legal education seminar—Jacob then visited a series of websites dealing with 'sex addiction.'"


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