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Police deny Ohio State records request in Urban Meyer investigation

Wednesday was almost an uncharacteristically quiet day on the Ohio State/Urban Meyer front. 

Then came a late-night report from ESPN about the special working group’s investigation into how Meyer handled domestic violence allegations against assistant coach Zach Smith. 

Most noteworthy: The police department that responded to multiple calls from the home of Zach and Courtney Smith during their marriage is willing to work with investigators, but Powell, Ohio, police chief Gary Vest told ESPN confidentiality laws intended to protect the identity of people accused of crimes limit what he is allowed to share legally. 

Because Smith was not charged with a crime as a result of those incidents, the details of what police found while responding to those cases are not public record, according to Powell's city attorney. Vest said he also denied a request from the investigators working on behalf of Ohio State to see the same records based on advice received from the city's attorney.

Powell Director of Communication Megan Canavan confirmed the details of the story to Cox Media Group Ohio.

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“Our police department and legal counsel are in communication with their team,” Powell said. 

Zach Smith told ESPN last week he never abused his now-ex-wife, Courtney, but admitted to bad behavior that contributed to a “toxic” marriage. 

Courtney Smith earlier told national college football reporter Brett McMurphy and the website Stadium she was abused, it was common knowledge among the wives of the Ohio State assistant coaches and that she had exchanged texts with Shelley Meyer (Urban’s wife) about an incident in 2015. 

While a legal dispute between the Smiths is still pending, much of the story nationally has focused on how Urban Meyer handled the situation.

What You Need to Know: Urban Meyer

»RELATED: Updated timeline of Urban Meyer investigation 

Zach Smith said he had discussed the 2015 police investigation with both Meyer and Ohio State director of athletics Gene Smith, saying the latter called him after being notified of the investigation by the police. 

Zach Smith was fired on July 23 after being charged with criminal trespassing, the result of the couple’s disagreement over how an exchange of their son was handled in May. He is also facing a civil protection order. 

On July 24, Meyer denied knowledge of a 2015 incident in which Courtney Smith alleged Zach abused her, though there is some question about what he thought he was denying at the time

Meyer released a statement Friday apologizing for how he handled questions the day after Smith was fired but also stating he followed all protocols regarding the allegations in 2015. 

»RELATED: Ohio State fans rally for Urban Meyer

Courtney Smith’s attorney released a statement Tuesday morning seeking to correct what she termed misinformation circulating about her client. 

She expressed her client’s willingness to aid Ohio State’s investigation while also noting Courtney Smith had never been contacted by anyone from the school up to that point.

>>RELATED: Zach Smith’s lawyer critical of media coverage of the story 

Ohio State has named an “independent board” to look into what Meyer knew and how he handled it. The investigation is being led by former Securities and Exchange Commission chair and U.S. District Attorney Mary Jo White

The school hopes to have the investigation wrapped up by August 19

  

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