Former assistant prosecutor to plead guilty to state charges

COLUMBUS — A former top attorney with the Ohio Department of Public Safety will enter guilty pleas to three misdemeanor charges of intercepting and disclosing sensitive and confidential investigation information for his part in an electronic eavesdropping scheme, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

Joshua Engel, 40, who is also a former Warren County assistant prosecutor, is slated to plead guilty to the charges in a bill of information at 11 a.m. Friday in Franklin County Common Pleas Court in Columbus.

Engel has also agreed to cooperate in other investigations, according to the Dispatch.

Each count is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.

Engel was hired by then-Prosecutor Tim Oliver and worked for the prosecutor’s office for about four years from 2002 to about 2006, according to Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel.

She declined to comment on Engel’s case.

One of those investigations included the aborted operation at the Governor’s Residence last January where prison trustys were obtaining contrabrand to take back to the prison, according to the Dispatch.

The scheme also included secretly intercepting e-mail messages between public safety department officials and investigations or people critical of the department as well to Dispatch reporters.

In addition, Engel also intercepted e-mail messages sent by the Ohio Inspector General’s Office, the Ohio Ethics Commission and the U.S. Attorney’s office and the U.S. Department of Justice office in Cleveland, the Dispatch said.

Engel was fired from the state public safety department on Sept. 29.

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