Nancy Nix is the New Butler County Auditor: Roger Reynolds files a Brady Motion that should prove his innocence from political theatrics and State activism of procedural misconduct

There is good news out there worth discussing, specifically that Nancy Nix is going to be sworn in on February 13th for the recently opened auditor job; she is undoubtedly the most qualified to provide a professional continuity to the great work that Roger Reynolds has done in that role for years. Nancy Nix is outstanding in her own way, which is why she was so easily picked to fill that vacancy after a recent trial against Roger Reynolds found him guilty on one of the charges, meaning he needed to step out of the job that voters had just popularly picked him for, knowing that there was a court case trying to establish that he had shown an unlawful interest in a public contract. Thinking back on the trial, which took place right before Christmas in 2022, there were seven charges in total, the seventh one came on during the summer of 2022, and that was the one that he was found guilty of, and it involved Lakota schools. Yes, the same Lakota schools that has had all the Matt Miller controversy, so there is plenty to talk about regarding that one. Once the trial started, Roger’s defense was able to get a charge waived, so this Lakota schools charge ended up being Count Six, and it specifically alleged that Roger Reynolds suggested a partnership between Lakota Schools and the Four Bridges Golf Club to expand an indoor golf training facility for the Lakota golf teams. Jenni Logan, the Lakota treasurer at the time, gave a testimony that the defense did not have adequate time to prepare for; they were caught by surprise by a number of things, which occurred because it was a late charge tossed on by the Sheriff’s office and the unique activism of the Attorney General, David Yost inspired procedural misconduct that left a one sided testimony that the jury sided with in the wake of further corresponding evidence to the contrary. 

Now I know all the characters in this story, and from my perspective, it was 100% politically inspired. You can tell by how the court case was either pushed out to accompany election results or rushed to prevent the defense from obtaining all the information they needed to argue everything in court. Of the original five counts, which were the bases of the case investigated by Sheriff Jones and his department, as reported by Channel 19 news, Roger Reynolds was found innocent on all those counts. This Count Six was added later, right before this case was set to go to court in the summer of 2022, as Jones and David Yost were trying to pressure Roger Reynolds to step down from his auditor role. Based on how things looked, and again, knowing some of the situation personally, it looks like they wanted to put overwhelming public pressure on Roger to avoid court since the system was stacked against him and open up that auditor seat for a pick more favorable to their political desires. That last part is my statement based on knowledge of the case. But it’s not hard to connect the dots; the trial was pushed back to a date after the 2022 election to see if Roger would win re-election, which he did. So the trial was used as a backstop to force him to be removed from office with one of those seven charges. And of those, only one stuck, the one that the defense had the least amount of time to prepare for, not surprisingly. 

However, after the trial, the defense obtained one of the Four Bridges emails that they indicated in a recently filed Brady Motion asking for a new trial just for Count Six that directly contradicts the testimony provided by Jenni Logan. The motion indicates that the prosecution knew of these emails, which weren’t revealed until after the trial because the State suppressed them. Not a surprise, given the political nature of this entire endeavor. I’ve read the Brady Motion filed by Roger’s defense team, which is consistent with what I thought about the case from the start. If the thousands of pages of documents and emails obtained by the State were applied, which they were fully aware of during the trial, but kept from the defense so they wouldn’t have time to prepare a proper defense, then that Count Six would have had a different resolution. One particular email referred to in the Brady Motion as the “Powell Email” directly contradicts the testimony of Jenni Logan, who was the sole witness by the State in support of Count Six. That specific email would have provoked the defense into calling testimony that would have inspired an innocence declaration based on the content, which is different from the Lakota treasurer’s memory of the case, which was quite old to begin with. As it turns out, Logan was interested in the proposal and was undoubtedly not pushed into any considerations.

The Brady Motion indicates that the State withheld material it knew to be exculpatory evidence, violating all kinds of laws. Now for context, the investigators in this trial are the same people who found Jenni Logan’s partner at Lakota schools, Superintendent Matt Miller, innocent of criminal wrongdoing when he admitted in a police report during this same period of time that the same people were prosecuting the Roger Reynolds case, that Miller’s police admission that he fantasized about “drugging, molesting, and video recording three kids from Lakota schools” was not criminal conduct. But Roger Reynolds, a respected Auditor of Butler County, abused his position by just thinking of a partnership between Lakota schools and the Four Bridges Country Club to help kids have a golf academy. To say the least, there is some procedural inconsistency, and that is being extremely polite. And both Jenni Logan and Matt Miller were offered jobs by mysterious forces to get away from the limelight at Lakota schools while things played out as a direct reaction to that Matt Miller police report. If this were not a political case, there likely would have never been a Count Six, let alone all the direct influence of the Attorney General’s office anyway. This case, from the beginning, was political and desired to abuse the control of the law to eliminate political rivals, which worked primarily regarding the suppression of evidence that looks to be intentional by the procedural renderings observed along the timeline. I think Roger has a good argument for a Brady Motion, and it would be well worth the effort and cost to ensure that a person found guilty of a felony has an opportunity at fairness. Not just for his sake but to repair the bad reputation that the court is now carrying because of this case. We want to show that the law cannot be used as a weapon, but as an arbiter of justice for everyone, no matter the political pressures.

Yet the biggest concern was that out of all this, Butler County taxpayers would lose the great work that had come out of the Auditor’s office. And now that Nancy Nix is stepping into that role, at least good government is returning to them, as Nancy has worked closely with Roger for a long time. Political turmoil is a constant hazard, especially when you do a good job and some people don’t want such a good job done. Roger Reynolds has undoubtedly been a target for political inspiration against him due to his high level of competence. And Nancy Nix as her own great person is great for that role. She will face many of the same forces, of course, but she is certainly skilled enough to navigate those dangers in her own way. But ultimately, we must make sure our courts work. In Roger’s case, if there is evidence that would find him innocent because right now he has a felony on his record that will last his entire life, and if he doesn’t deserve it, which based on the evidence suppressed by the State, appears to be the case, well then he should have a proper day in court to defend that charge, and not to be a victim of misconduct that uses the courts as a political weapon, rather than a defender of justice and honor. 

Rich Hoffman

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