Telb wants Lucas County to pay his legal bills

Lucas County Sheriff James Telb

TOLEDO, Ohio - Longtime Lucas County Sheriff James Telb, acquitted by a federal court jury in December, says county taxpayers should cover his costs from fighting charges of covering up a jail inmate's death.

The Blade obtained a letter sent by Sheriff Telb to the Pete Gerken, president of the Lucas County's board of commissioners. Telb writes it's unfair to foot the legal bills himself because the case resulted from his role as sheriff. He says the expenses would wipe out what he calls "the savings of a lifetime."

County officials say they haven't seen any dollar numbers. Telb's attorney says the amount is similar to what co-defendants paid.

The Blade reports court documents show a former deputy charged in the case has paid close to $200,000 in legal fees.

Telb was found not guilty of aiding and abetting and not guilty of lying to federal agents for allegedly covering up the 2004 death of Lucas County Jail inmate Carlton Benton.

Internal Affairs Investigator Robert McBroom was also found not guilty of aiding and abetting and not guilty of lying to federal agents.

Retired Jail Sergeant John Gray was found guilty of two counts of falsifying documents and a civil rights violation for not getting Benton medical help after a sleeper hold was put on Benton.

Retired Lucas County Sheriff Deputy Jay Schmeltz was also found guilty of one count of falsification of documents.


(The Associated Press contributed to this article.)