Video: James Crawford, Edited and Produced by Don Carpenter

AUDIO: Don Carpenter

The first person to be indicted by the Steubenville Grand Jury, William Rhinaman appeared in court this afternoon looking very nervous as he sat alone in the courtroom awaiting the attorneys and Judge Cosgrove to begin proceedings.

Most Notably was the lack of media coverage as opposed to the media circus during the trials of Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond back in March.  (CNN, Wtov9. Wtrf 7. NBC 4 Columbus, KDKA Pittsburgh, Wtae Pittsburgh, the Herald Star and a couple unknows covered the hearing.)

Rhinaman is charged with Tampering with Evidence, Obstructing Justice, Perjury, and Obstructing Official Business. There was no new information or documents available to the public or media as to how the grand jury came to these conclusions, or when Rhinaman allegedly committed these offenses.

Judge Cosgrove assigned to the case  by the Ohio Supreme Court, conducted a fast hearing with Rhinaman pleading not guilty, and appointing his current attorney as his legal representative until a hearing on October 25th at 11 AM can determine if Rhinaman has the finances and assets on hand to hire and pay for his own attorney.

Rhinaman informed the court that he only has $1,500 in his bank account, and has a mortgage on his house which costs more than the home is actually worth. When Judge Cosgrove asked the defendant if he is still employed by Steubenville City Schools, he replied ” I don’t know I haven’t had contact with them since I was arrested on Monday.” Nor was Rhinaman able to answer questions as to if he could tap his pension for his soon to be massive legal expenses.

Rhinaman was released on a $25,000 personal recognizance bond provided he meets with an attorney and makes all court appearances.

Rhianaman has no criminal record until these current charges, and is a 30 year old resident of Steubenville who makes around $67.000 a year as an IT employee.

Rhinaman’s wife was accompanied into the courtroom by Steubenville High School Principal Shawn Crozier, and Superintendent of Schools Mike Mcvey.

Rhinaman’s current lawyer estimates legal expenses between $20,000 and $50,000 in retainers and expert witness fees alone to which if the court appoints a public defender, Rhinaman may have to reimburse Jefferson County and the state of Ohio for those fees if convicted.

You can hear full audio of the arraignment HERE

Judge Joseph Bruzeese also quietly looked on during the proceedings in his courtroom as a spectator sitting behind MRs. Rhinaman and the Steubenville City School officials.

As if things couldn’t get more bizarre, after the hearing in which I was trying to help get my camera man’s equipment out of the jury box to get outside to do interviews with School Officials, and attorneys, I was informed by Sherriff Fred Abdalla that there was a warrant for my arrest issued possibly in relation to when my ex girlfriend took me to a Jefferson County Court back in July. I informed Fred that case was promptly dismissed, but I was told that I was under arrest, and they didn’t want to make a scene or take me out in cuffs in front of my friends in Pittsburgh Media who were in the hall. Abdalla, informed me he would double check the warrant, and would be back shortly at which point i was held in the courtroom under guard by a deputy and 2 court officers.  I was eventually presented with a warrant and about to be cuffed when I realized the warrant was for a Donald Lee Carpenter of Wayne Township, Oh.

I am Donald J. Carpenter from Pittsburgh, Pa. I informed the officers of this error and presented my PA driver’s license as well as my social security card. 20 minutes later, I was free to go with apologies from Sherriff Abdalla. They were very polite and professional in the matter, and I thank them for double checking the warrant b4 I was officially taken into custody and booked.