Cuyahoga County

Prosecutors: Bedford judge trolled web for prostitutes while at work


CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office is asking a county judge to force Bedford Municipal Court Judge Harry Jacob III to hand over a password for his personal computer.

The request, filed late Tuesday, provides an outline of what investigators say searches of Jacob's MacBook Pro laptop have already turned up -- including evidence that while hearing court cases Jacobs trolled the Internet for prostitutes and later, after he became aware he was being investigated, that he did legal research on prostitution-related criminal charges and sex addiction.

Prosecutors said the 55-year-old judge voluntarily turned over the computer, along with a cell phone and tablet, in order to avoid a search of his Solon home. At the time, Jacob gave investigators a general login for the laptop but they later found out parts of his hard drive were protected by a different password.

In refusing to comply with a subpoena for the password Monday, Jacob invoked his constitutional Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, according to the motion filed Tuesday by Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Matthew Meyer, who heads the office's Public Corruption Unit.

Information from an initial search of web browsing-related files from Jacob's laptop led to at least one additional misdemeanor charge against him today of failing to report a felony. That charge was part of a new indictment that also accused Jacob of tampering with court records before and after the investigation became public.

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