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CLEVELAND– Rep. Marcia Fudge, as well as the victim’s own attorney, wrote a letter on behalf of former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Lance Mason following a 2014 domestic violence incident.

Mason, who remains hospitalized, was charged with felonious assault for injuring an officer while fleeing a crime scene. Shaker Heights police said he will be charged relating to the death of his ex-wife Aisha Fraser, a beloved sixth grade teacher.

Officers were called to a home on Chagrin Boulevard in Shaker Heights Saturday morning for a domestic incident. When they arrived, Fraser, 45, was found dead in the driveway. Court documents said Mason rammed a police cruiser with his SUV, damaging both cars and hurting the officer, who has since been released from the hospital.

In 2014, Mason pleaded guilty to domestic violence and attempted felonious assault after investigators said he punched and choked Fraser in front of their two children.

Before his sentencing, Fudge sent a letter to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, calling Mason, “a good man who made a very bad mistake.”

“Most assuredly, I am deeply saddened and disappointed at where we find ourselves today. The behavior Lance displayed on August 2, 2014, is out of character and totally contrary to everything I know about him,” Fudge wrote in the letter dated Aug. 9, 2015.

“The Lance T. Mason I know is a kind, intelligent man and loyal friend. The Lance T. Mason I know is an advocate for the people of this community.”

Read the full letter here

The Congresswoman, representing the 11th district of Ohio, which includes Cleveland and parts of Akron, is considering a bid for Speaker of the House. Fudge released the following statement on Tuesday:

“My heart breaks for Aisha Fraser.  I pray for Aisha’s family, especially her children, as they attempt to deal with this tragedy.  My support of Lance in 2015 was based on the person I knew for almost 30 years  The person who committed these crimes is not the Lance Mason familiar to me.  They were horrific crimes, and I condemn them.  I and everyone who knew Aisha are mourning her loss.”

More than a dozen people wrote letters on Mason’s behalf including Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Hollie Gallagher and attorney Joyce Barrett, who represented Fraser.

Fraser’s attorney wrote her client wanted treatment and that long-term incarceration is “inconsistent with the goals which Ms. Mason desires for her husband, herself, and their children.”

Mason was sentenced to two years in prison and released after serving nine months. He was removed from the bench and suspended by the Ohio Supreme Court.

In 2017, the city of Cleveland hired him as the minority business development administrator in the office of equal opportunity. Fifteen other candidates applied for the $45,000-a-year position. The city insisted Mason was the most qualified person for the job, based on his law degree.

On Monday, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson defended the decision to hire Mason, despite his violent history, saying he had no way of predicting the future.

Continuing coverage of this story here