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Plaintiff in retaliation case against Judge Leslie Ann Celebrezze opposes Celebrezze's effort to hide subpoena content

Friday, December 29, 2023

Judge Leslie Ann Celebrezze asked the trial court to hide from public view subpoena language quoting a sexual text message she allegedly sent. Distorting the court record would violate federal and Ohio constitutional law, the plaintiff's brief argues.

Plaintiff in retaliation case against Judge Leslie Ann Celebrezze opposes Celebrezze's effort to hide subpoena content
Still image from surveilance footage of Judge Leslie Ann Celebrezze and receiver Mark Dottore, as reported by The Marshall Project

CLEVELAND, OH — Today, Georgeanna "Georgia" Semary, the plaintiff in a civil-liability-for-criminal-acts retaliation and intimidation case against Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court Judge Leslie Ann Celebrezze, filed a legal brief opposing Celebrezze's effort to hide from public view the language of a sexual-invitation text message that evidence in the case suggests she sent receiver Mark Dottore. Dottore is a receiver that Celebrezze has serially appointed to oversee the assets of divorcing couples' cases.

The language was contained in subpoenas to Dottore and his business filed on the public docket.

The subpoenas sought from Dottore, among other things, an August 6, 2008 text message from Celebrezze to him allegedly urging:

“I know it is early but my house is still quiet. I know your stressed out. You need to make love to me this week I feel safe when I am in your arms.”


Celebrezze's motion, which purported to join a motion by Dottore, claimed that no evidence supports inclusion of the language seeking such a text from Dottore.

Ms. Semary responded by submitting to the court evidence, including a video-deposition transcript and deposition video of Lisa Moran Dottore, Mr. Dottore's former wife, who testfied that she saw the text message on her former husband's phone on August 6, 2008 and promptly wrote it down verbatim. She also testified about other reasons she believed Celebrezze and Dottore were having an affair.

Ms. Semary pointed out that Celebrezze lacks legal standing to even oppose the language directed to Dottore and his business. The subpoena isn't even directed toward her.

Ms. Semary's brief also expanded on Ms. Semary's previous citations to the First Amendment, Ohio Constitution, and Ohio Rules of Superintendence of the courts that would make what both Celebrezze and Dottore are seeking illegal. Caselaw holds that courts must be open to public scrutiny.

Ms. Semary's lawsuit, filed in the Cuyahoga Court of Common Pleas General Division, alleges that Celebrezze’s judicial career was unraveling when a reporter investigated her relationship with Dottore—to whom the judge has funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in receivership appointments. Celebrezze, the suit says, orchestrated the destruction of Ms. Semary's career to cover up the relationship.

The lawsuit alleges that Ms. Semary gave the reporter open court records from a case Dottore's company worked on, and faced immediate retalation by Celebrezze and her co-defendants. The Marshall Project, a non-profit-journalism enterprise focused on exposing unfairness in the justice system published the reporter's article, The article includes video-surveillance footage of Celebrezze and Dottore kissing, which is cited in the complaint.

Subodh Chandra, Ms. Semary's lead counsel, said, "Celebrezze's effort to get the court to hide the court record is unprecedented. It must be denied."

Ms. Semary is represented by Mr. Chandra and Donald P. Screen.

Semary's filing, including Ms. Moran Dottore's deposition transcript, can be found here. The video may be obtained from the Cuyahoga County Clerk of Courts.

Information about the suit can be found here.

The case is before Visiting Judge Reeve Kelsey, retired from Wood County, Ohio Court of Common Pleas.

If you have information about Celebrezze's conduct regarding Dottore or Ms. Semary, please write or call our office and leave a voicemail at 216.578.1700. Please note that we are not divorce lawyers and cannot help with issues regarding that or child custody.

Chandra Law is experienced obtaining justice for victims of employment retaliation. We also secure constitutional rights.

And the firm helped pioneer work in holding individuals and companies accountable for
civil liability for criminal acts, securing the two leading Supreme Court of Ohio decisions favorable to crime victims on the topic.

If you think that your rights have been violated, you may
contact us to discuss your options.

Related Practice Areas
Employment RetaliationFirst AmendmentGovernment Ethics, Misconduct, Fraud, & AbuseLegal Ethics & Professional ResponsibilityCrime Victims: Civil Action for Damages for Criminal Acts Under Ohio Revised Code § 2307.60

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