CINCINNATI (AP) — A veteran Hamilton County clerk of courts employee has been charged with leaking confidential information from search warrants, allowing potential law enforcement targets to be warned, authorities said Thursday.
Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil said the employee, Yakyma Boyd, 45, was arrested on two felony counts of tampering with records after an investigation by the sheriff's organized crime division. Ernest Bryant, 49, was charged with tampering with records, and drug trafficking, drug possession and weapons counts.
The sheriff's statement said the clerk employee provided information "to another individual who would then warn the potential targets of these criminal investigations" and pass along specifics from the search warrants.
Authorities didn't specify Bryant's role in the leaks.
Other details of the allegations weren't made public immediately, and the sheriff's office said a "lengthy" probe is continuing. Spokesman Jim Knapp said the impacts of the leaks on cases and possible danger caused for police are under investigation.
Attorney Clyde Bennett II said Boyd will fight the charges against her.
"Based on what I know about the case, I don't believe she is guilty," Bennett said.
Court records didn't list an attorney for Bryant.
Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval said his office in Cincinnati is cooperating with police and also is investigating. He said Boyd, a 22-year employee, has been suspended without pay.
"The charges ... are grave and serious," Pureval said in a statement. "If true, her actions are criminal and a violation of the public trust."
He also said his office is taking immediate action to make sure all employees are trained about handling sensitive information and said there will be "zero tolerance" for violations of the policy.
Pureval, a Democrat , ended longtime Republican leadership of the clerk's office with a November 2016 upset election victory.
This story has been corrected to show that the suspect's first name is Ernest, not Earnest.
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