Judge dismisses motion filed against prosecutor

ichelle Park

Comments about murder case were ‘procedural’

James Trimble stands before the judge and consults his lawyers yesterday morning at the Portage County courthouse. Portage County Prosecuter Victor Vigliucci was accused of violating the gag order on Trimble’s case. The judge threw the charges out yester

Credit: Andrew popik

A motion to hold Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci in contempt of court for violating a gag order was dismissed yesterday morning. The hearing took place in the Portage County Court of Common Pleas and was heard by Judge John Enlow.

“At this point, the motion to cite for contempt is overruled,” Enlow said, ruling that there was not the “shown cause order” necessary to hold a contempt hearing. Enlow added that the comments Vigluicci made to the media Feb. 4 after a gag order was granted were “procedural in nature.”

Vigluicci is the prosecutor in the case of triple-homicide suspect James Trimble. Dennis Lager, Trimble’s attorney and Portage County public defender, filed a motion for contempt Feb. 4, alleging Vigluicci had violated the gag order granted Feb. 3 by talking to a reporter from the Record Courier.

Both Vigluicci and Lager spoke during the hearing. Vigluicci asked Enlow to dismiss the hearing because his comments to the Record Courier regarded the gag order and were not commentary about the Trimble case.

Lager, however, pointed to Vigluicci’s own “broad” request for the gag order, which required all “counsel and their employees (to refrain from making) any public statements regarding (the Trimble case) nor … provide any further information outside of the court proceeding, which may in any way influence any pretrial publicity.”

Lager alleged that Vigluicci’s statements created publicity. He referred to the front page story about the gag order, which ran Feb. 4 in the Record Courier.

After dismissing the motion, Enlow warned both Vigluicci and Lager to adhere strictly to the gag order.

Also during the hearing, Enlow granted an additional seven days to the defense to produce documents relative to Trimble’s mental condition at the time of the murders of which he is accused. Both the prosecution and the defense will schedule psychological evaluations of Trimble’s sanity, and the court also will see to an independent evaluation.

Trimble faces charges of aggravated murder for the deaths of Brimfield resident Renee Bauer, 42, her 7-year-old son Dakota and 22-year-old Kent State student Sarah Positano. The next hearing for his case is scheduled for March 7.

Contact public affairs reporter Michelle Park at [email protected].