Cincinnati crime: Defense attorney Mary Jill Donovan indicted

Feds say she advised clients to destroy evidence

CINCINNATI - Defense attorney Mary Jill Donovan is facing federal charges that accuse her of instructing two clients to destroy evidence in weapons and drug cases against them.

A federal grand jury indicted Donovan, wife of former Hamilton County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Sean Donovan, on charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice and two counts of obstruction of justice.

According to the indictment, Donovan sent text messages to one client, Phillip Shaw, advising him to destroy his cellphone SIM card in February, 2012. Shaw complied, the indictment says.

Shaw sent a message through an intermediary to another Donovan client, John Brown, telling Brown that “MJ” told him to get rid of his phone, the indictment says.

The instructions came after the prosecutor’s office gave Donovan telephone records of Brown’s calls from jail, where he was awaiting trial, the indictment says.

Brown was later convicted of having a weapon under disability and sentenced to three years in prison.

Shaw was charged with trafficking and possession of marijuana. The last document in his case file shows that he did not appear in court on March 21, 2012, and the judge ordered his arrest.

A statement from Donovan’s attorney, Peter Rosenwald, said in part: “The indictment is not an accurate recitation of all the relevant facts.  We are confident that she will be fully exonerated as all of the facts come out at trial.”

Donovan is scheduled for a court hearing Thursday.

Her husband Sean Donovan lost the 2012 election for sheriff.

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