Will Liz Rogers' words come back to haunt her?

Posted at 8:00 PM, Nov 12, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-12 20:00:22-05

WEST CHESTER, TWP., Ohio – A judge will decide if Liz Rogers' words come back to haunt her.

"If you impersonate a police officer, you're a criminal," Rogers said during a taped phone call with police.

The prosecutor played that call Thursday during the controversial restaurateur's trial. Rogers, who owned the failed Mahogany's on The Banks restaurant, is accused of claiming she was a cop while she was confronted by a man trying to repossess her husband's Mercedes.

Rogers waived her right to a jury trial and took her chances with Judge Dan Haughey. The trial lasted three hours.

The repo man, Justin Ohmart, testified that Rogers told him she was a police officer.

Ohmart: "She immediately went to the trunk and was looking around through the trunk and then went back to the car - the

inside of the car - and then went back to the trunk and that's when she provided the badge - not badge, the ID."

Prosecutor: "OK. And what if anything did she say when she provided it to you?"

Ohmart: "That she was a police officer and she had to secure a weapon."

On her call, Rogers told the officer that Ohmart was making a false claim

"I want to know why would a guy do something like that? That doesn't make sense," she said.

"You saw he was in plain clothes - just a nobody. Why would I give him my license and let him follow me back to my house?"

That's when she told the officer:  "If you impersonate a police officer, you're a criminal."

Rogers' defense attorney, Clyde Bennett II, told Judge Haughey that the repo man was upset that he didn't get his car and that there was nothing to prove she claimed to be a cop.

Butler County Prosecutor Brad Burress argued that the only explanation that made sense was Rogers portraying herself as a cop equipped with a small badge in her wallet.

"She also told Officer Parrett in that interview that you heard, 'If you impersonate a police officer, you're a criminal.' Your Honor, that's exactly what Liz Rogers did that morning," Burress said.

The judge will rule Tuesday.

The accusations came after Rogers started two new business ventures after the closure of Mahogany’s. Rogers has also agreed to repay the city of Cincinnati one-third of the $300,000 loan she owes for Mahogany's, which closed in October 2014.

Ohio law prohibits the impersonation of a police officer or private police officer.