AKRON -- Defense Attorney Leif Christman told the jury in his closing argument Thursday morning that his client, Michael Gabor, "fell into a vat of raw sewage that was Cuyahoga County government."
He said Gabor, who faces 8 federal charges including bribery and conspiracy, "had the misfortune of working for a very, very big criminal, which was Frank Russo."
Christman called the government's case against Gabor "a beautiful house built on a foundation of sand."
The sand, he went on to explain, were four people who testified against Gabor and Jimmy Dimora, namely Frank Russo, Steve Pumper, J. Kevin Kelley, and Joe Gallucci.
He claimed that Gabor was not one of the many people who had to pay off Russo to get a job at the Cuyahoga County Auditor's office.
Christman acknowledged that Gabor made some mistakes with co-defendant Jimmy Dimora.
"Yeah, he helped him cheat on his wife, not cool. These are things that are dirty," Christman said. But Christman said Gabor's conduct did not amount to criminal activity.
"There's a lot of mud flying around the room," Christman admitted, of the oftentimes vulgar testimony in the two-month trial, "and we need a shower from all the sewage." But, he said, witnesses against Gabor were unreliable.
"They wrap their witnesses in the American flag and they swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," Christman said. "But it's throw Michael under the bus."