|Campbell County Courthouse. FTM file.|
In 2015, Hubers was sentenced to 40 years in prison, but defense attorneys later learned that one of the jurors was a convicted felon and under Kentucky law, felons are not qualified to serve on the jury. She was granted a new trial set for January 2018.
With the media coverage the case had received, Hubers and her attorney were seeking a change of venue for the retrial, but in order to do that, she needed affidavits signed by Campbell County residents, which essentially said that they too, believe that Hubers could not receive a fair trial in Campbell County.
So on Tuesday, Hubers submitted 156 affidavits from Campbell County residents that she claimed were signed by residents in support of a change of venue for her trial.
|David Eldridge and Hubers. Photo: WCPO.|
David M. Eldridge and Jeffrey A. Lawson, counsel for Hubers, withdrew the petition in light of the wrongdoing and claimed they had nothing to do with forgery. Lawson told Fort Thomas Matters that it's routine for attorneys to hire an investigative firm to do that work.
"It's commonplace to hire an investigative firm to talk to people in the community to see if they feel that we are making a correct argument," he said. "Our agreement with the firm was to drive around, talk to people in the community and collect signatures. That was it."
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In an affidavit filed at Campbell County Circuit Court, Eldridge wrote that his firm entered into an agreement with Northern Kentucky Investigative Services and Principal, Rob Dixon. Dixon's daughter, Brittany Young, was the notary on 122 of the affidavits and later admitted to forging all but three of the petitions.
Young, from Fort Thomas, is listed as the company's secretary on the Kentucky Secretary of State filings.
In her affidavit, Snodgrass wrote it was "apparent" that many of the signatures were forged. Within five hours of receiving the documents, attorneys determined 75 percent of the signatures supporting the motion were not authentic.
Attorneys contacted some residents who allegedly signed the petition and many had never seen nor signed the document.
Highland Heights Police Chief Bill Birkenhauer wrote in an affidavit that Young admitted to forging the affidavits. Snodgrass said that they are still investigating the forgeries and said she believes the actions constitute a felony.
Eldridge wrote that it was his understanding that Dixon was an experienced and reputable investigator who had undertaken similar efforts to obtain supporting affidavits for change of venue motions in other cases.
He said that his only contact with Northern Kentucky Investigative Services was through Dixon.
"We understood that Mr. Dixon would be utilizing other personnel to assist in the effort to obtain supporting affidavits however neither I nor anyone in my firm had any direct contact with those personnel including, specifically, Ms. Brittany Young," he wrote.
"I was shocked to receive an email communication from Rob Dixon advising me that the night before, he had received a telephone call from (prosecutors and law enforcement). Through the conference call, Mr. Dixon was informed that Brittany Young was accused of forging signatures of various affiants and subsequently notarizing said signatures and that the Commonwealth intended to file criminal charges against Ms. Young."
Eldridge went on to write that they have taken the necessary steps to report the misconduct to the Kentucky Board of Licensure for Private Investigators.
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Lawson told Fort Thomas Matters that he will continue to try and convince a judge to move the retrial from Campbell County.
"We still think that's entirely appropriate," he said.
A hearing is scheduled in Campbell County Circuit Court on Friday to discuss the change of venue motion.
A call to Northern Kentucky Investigative Services was not immediately returned.
|A forged affidavit obtained by Fort Thomas Matters, signed by Brittany Young. Click image to enlarge.|