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Tracie Hunter's Trial Delayed After Defense Attorney Withdraws

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Hamilton County Juvenile Court
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Suspended Hamilton County juvenile court judge Tracie Hunter's second criminal trial will be pushed back until at least October after her defense lawyer unexpectedly withdrew from the case at a hearing Friday morning.

The trial was to have started next Tuesday.

Clyde Bennett II told Judge Pat Dinkelacker at a pre-trial hearing that he was no longer going to represent Hunter.

When asked by WVXU why he withdrew, Bennett responded with a terse "no comment." 

Dinkelacker's bailiff told WVXU Hunter has until Oct. 5 to find a new defense lawyer. A hearing will be held on that date; and a new trial date may be set.

Hunter was convicted of unlawful interest in a public contract in a trial last fall where she was represented by Bennett. Now, she is being re-tried on eight counts that the first jury deadlocked on, including tampering with evidence and theft in office. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is appealing her conviction from last fall.

The trial judge in her original criminal trial, the now-retired Norbert Nadel, sentenced Hunter to six months in jail. But the Ohio Supreme Court allowed her to remain free while she appealed her conviction to the Ohio 1st District Court of Appeals.