Court of Appeals Schedules Oral Arguments Concerning Romantic Emails between Assistant Ohio AG Dan Kasaris and Government Witness Kathryn Clover

Government witness Kathryn Clover testified in a dozen criminal proceedings as a “fact witness” for prosecutors but, at the same time, Senior Assistant Ohio Attorney General Daniel Kasaris was having a romantic relationship with her, using taxpayer funds to provide her with undisclosed financial benefits, and communicating with her using his private Yahoo email account.  Kasaris made little effort to conceal the affair, taking Clover to Indians games, entertaining her at local bars in Downtown Cleveland and nearby Lakewood, and even hiring her as an employee of the Prosecutor’s Office.  Despite overwhelming proof of the affair, including Facebook messages from Kasaris’ wife Susan and sworn statements from a half a dozen witnesses, both Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley have refused to investigate the matter or make the Kasaris-Clover emails available to the public, even after federal prosecutor Mark Bennett stated in writing that Clover committed perjury during her testimony in criminal cases, USA v. Clover, 10-cr-75, Document # 46.   Attorney General Yost continues to maintain his support for Kasaris, recently tweeting that “Dan Kasaris is a top-notch career prosecutor in the Attorney General’s office—he handled several of my public corruption cases when I served as Auditor of State … [There isn’t] a tougher, more experienced prosecutor. Justice will be done” in cases handled by Kasaris.

Following prolonged litigation, Kasaris recently admitted under oath that he often utilized his Yahoo email account to conduct official business. At the same time, the investigative team unearthed Kasaris-Clover emails discussing “Hand jobs” and “Banging in the car” and containing racist comments, among other inappropriate content.  Kasaris told the Ohio Court of Claims he followed Ohio records laws “for the most part” and that he conducted his own search of his Yahoo account, concluding that none of the emails on that platform should be released, a position Court upheld. 

On appeal, Tony Viola argued that

  • Any communications between a prosecutor and a government witness constitute public records because they involve a core function of the prosecutor’s office;
  • Admissions by Kasaris that he utilized his Yahoo email account for official business require both the Ohio Attorney General and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office to search the Yahoo account for public records;
  • Ohio law makes clear that text messages and emails sent on privately-owned devices or platforms are public records if they are “work related” or involve “official business;” and
  • If the Court allows a public official to use a private email account with his official signature to conduct official business, then allows that same official to submit a statement that he searched his personal account and no records should be released, the public records laws in the State of Ohio are meaningless.

A key question before the Court is whether the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, Kasaris’ former employer, must search the Kasaris Yahoo emails and produce public records from that account. According to the Court’s June 8 order, the case is set for oral argument on 7/21/21 before Judges Lisa B. Forbes, Mary Eileen Kilbane, and Emanuella D. Groves, Anthony Viola vs. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, Ohio Court of Appeals, Eighth District, Case Number CA-21-110315.  A transcript of the proceeding, including any available video, will be posted on the website, while all legal briefs and supporting documents are currently available on the Court of Appeals and Ohio Court of Claims websites, or can be made available upon request.

Tony Viola proved his innocence at a second trial using evidence that Prosecutors Dan Kasaris and Mark Bennett suppressed before the first trial, but that was provided by a whistleblower inside the Prosecutor’s Office.  In 2020, both the FBI and Department of Justice admitted making false statements about evidence on Tony’s case, and he was released from prison after a decade of incarceration.  To learn more about Tony’s case, or to view Kasaris-Clover emails, please visit the Evidence Locker.

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