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Ohio court rejects use of wildlife worker answers

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court has rejected a prosecutor's attempt to use statements made by five state wildlife officials in an internal investigation to charge them.

The decision Wednesday likely ends the criminal case against the officials, who had been accused of failing to report allegations that a state Natural Resources employee had illegally provided an out-of-state colleague with an Ohio hunting license at a discount.

The Supreme Court decision says the officials answered the questions during a state Inspector General's investigation after being warned they could be fired for refusing to answer.

The court says the U.S. Supreme Court previously determined that statements by public employees during internal investigations typically can't be used in criminal cases if the employees spoke as a condition of keeping their jobs.

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