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Friday, May 02, 2008

11 Days Ago Marc Dann Had A Chance To Tell The Truth: Transcript Shows He Didn't

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Ohio's Democratic Attorney General Marc Dann was under oath April 22 and testifying in a sexual harassment scandal when chief investigator Ben Espy asked a tough question. Had his office scheduler, a woman with whom he was suspected of having a romantic relationship, ever spent the night at his suburban Columbus apartment? The pad was Dann's home away from home in the Youngstown area, and there were rumors it may also have functioned as a lovenest. The record reveals Dann bristled and did not give a straight answer to Espy's question that day. Instead, Dann dodged, weaved and danced a little sidestep. He claimed didn't know the answer because he was hardly ever there. Turns out, that was not entirely true. Here's what the transcripts show:

"DANN -- You know, this is the kind of thing that I was talking about when we started. I mean, I'm just not going to allow this to be dragged into a -- transformed from a serious inquiry about sexual harassment complaints to a discussion of rumors and innuendo. And I don know, because I wasn't -- I was barely at the apartment.
ESPY -- Well, the reason -- I'm going to tell you the reason for the question.
DANN -- Sure.
ESPY -- It's not -- and I made it very clear in this investigation, I'm not the moral police, I'm not getting into relationships.
DANN -- (Witness nods head.)
ESPY -- The question was asked in the context of her being seen early in the morning there.
DANN -- She was there early in the morning, and she was there in the evening, I can tell you that.
ESPY -- The question is whether or not that's a carryover from staying overnight and leaving or coming over in the morning.
DANN -- There were many times she came at night to drop off schedules. She knew my schedule. Sometimes I didn't get there until 9:00 or 10:00. Many mornings I left early, like, 5:00, 6:00, even or 4:30 occasionally. I can remember one occasion when she came early to make sure I had the briefing material I needed. It wasn't so much the schedule, Ben, as it was the -- as it was the backup. You see the backup I get every day.
ESPY -- Right. Briefings you mean?
DANN -- Yeah, the briefing material. Those are the kinds of things. Oftentimes, because she had to rely on other people throughout the office, they simply didn't get it to her in time to compile it and get it to me in a reasonable hour. So I'm heading north in the morning from Dublin. or oftentimes west, without going back to the State Office Tower first, it made sense for her to do that.
ESPY -- Well, I've seen your schedule, which I don't know how you do it. But I've seen your schedule. Some of these questions were raised, innuendo were raised. We were trying to separate fact from fiction.
DANN -- Right.
ESPY -- So I think some of these questions had to be asked. But I know the scope of this investigation.
DANN -- Sure."

But three days ago, Dann changed his story. He returned for more questioning on April 30. He admitted scheduler Jessica Utovich had spent the night. Here's the testimony from that day:

"ESPY -- The question on Line 18 was: Do you ever recall her ever staying overnight at the apartment?
DANN -- Right. And I said at the end I didn't know, I was barely at the apartment, before you move on to another question. And although the transcript doesn't reflect it, I felt like I didn't get a chance to complete my answer at the time, and I wanted to complete the answer.
ESPY -- Go ahead.
DANN -- Although I was infrequently at the apartment, I was aware that she stayed overnight; however, I want to be clear that she did not stay overnight on September 10th, 2007.
ESPY -- You indicated that you were aware she did stay overnight?
DANN -- Yes.
ESPY -- Do you know what was the occasion?
DANN -- You know, I have knowledge that she stayed overnight. What I don't want to do is allow this serious investigation about allegations of sexual harassment be transformed into something that is about rumor and innuendo. And so there are a variety of reasons but I -- I don't think it adds any value to your investigation to respond."

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