Judge removes Claudia Hoerig’s recent court filings from records

Tribune Chronicle / Raymond L. Smith Accused murderer Claudia Hoerig, left, appears in court Thursday with her lead defense attorney, John Cornely, right. Hoerig said she plans to interview another attorney in the public defender’s office to replace David Rouzzo, who she said is not providing her adequate representation. Hoerig is accused in the 2007 shooting death of her husband, Air Force Maj. Karl Hoerig, in their Newton Falls home.

WARREN — Filings made by accused murderer Claudia Hoerig alleging her arrest and extradition to the United States were illegal and violated her constitutional rights were ordered to be stricken from court records by Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Andrew Logan Thursday.

Logan also ruled in favor of a motion by Trumbull County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Becker to stop Hoerig from filing handwritten legal briefs on her own behalf without the signature of her paid legal representative, John Cornely.

Hoerig is seeking to have a public defender, David Rouzzo, removed from her case because she does not believe he is providing adequate representation. Cornely, her lead defense attorney, told Logan that Hoerig intended to interview another attorney from the public defender’s office to replace Rouzzo.

Hoerig’s jury trial is scheduled Jan. 14. Cornely said Rouzzo’s replacement, if that occurs, should not affect the defense’s ability to be ready for trial. Another pre-trial hearing is scheduled Jan. 10.

Hoerig is facing murder charges in connection to the March 2007 shooting death of U.S. Air Force Reserve Maj. Karl Hoerig, to whom she was married.

After Karl Hoerig was killed inside their Newton Falls home, Hoerig used his status as an airline pilot to fly to Brazil, her native country. She was extradited back to the U.S. earlier this year.

Hoerig on Monday filed a brief claiming, among other things, she was arrested and held in Brazil for 22 months and her extradiction to the U.S. was illegal.

She suggested the Brazilian authorities were bribed to allow her kidnapping on Jan. 17 from Brazil to the United States. She wrote that Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins has led a campaign that included a CBS / 48 Hours news program in which she was portrayed as “a she devil.”

“Prosecutor Dennis Watkins’ case is simply based on the testimony of a bunch of people that have their own reasons to help Dennis Watkins to lie,” she wrote in a 13-page court filing.

Hoerig claims Watkins is using the power of the prosecutor’s office to encourage people to testify against her.

“Who does not want to be in good standing with a small-town prosecutor?” she wrote. “They are like gods — unaccountable.”

Hoerig claims that Watkins has presented two versions of the state’s case — one that has been for the public and the Brazilian government and a second for court filings. She questions how a court can produce justice in her case when government fraud is involved. She requested intervention by the federal government.

Hoerig said she never sought to elude arrest or prosecution.

“My home address was in the database of the Brazilian IRS ,” she wrote. “Brazil was the one that chose to protect me and not disclose my address.”

Hoerig claims Rouzzo has failed to provide a proper defense for her case, including dropping an expert witness that would have testified on battered wife syndrome. Rouzzo, she claims, is terrified of Watkins, Logan and others and will not do his job.

Becker, in his response filed Thursday, called Hoerig’s latest filings “rambling, twaddling documents of drivel.”

“The documents were filled with vicious and hominem attacks on the Trumbull County Prosecutor, the court, the current and former sheriff, the U.S. House of Representatives …. and anyone else that the defendant felt compelled to attack,” he wrote.

Becker argued because Hoerig has an attorney, she also should not be allowed to submit handwritten filings with the court.

“The defendant has buzzed around social media accounts and filed documents in this case like an annoying bee at a summer picnic, randomly spewing out venom at most everyone with no legitimate purpose, other than to undermine the dignity of these proceedings,” he wrote. “This court needs to swat her and end her antics by striking her pro se filings and ordering the Trumbull County Clerk of Courts to refuse to file any document in this case unless it is signed by defendant’s counsel.”