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Dimora hearing done; rulings within 10 days

5:05 PM, Oct 5, 2011   |    comments
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AKRON -- Former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and co-defendant Michael Gabor, a former employee in the Cuyahoga County Auditor's office, spent the day Wednesday in an Akron courtroom.

When court adjourned at 5:30 p.m., U.S. District Court Judge Sara Lioi had heard arguments from both sides on between 13 and 20 motions made mostlty by defense attorneys for Dimora and Gabor.

Lioi said she will make her written rulings on the motions within 10 days.

The trial for both Dimora and Gabor is scheduled to begin Jan. 4.

Among those multiple motions is a request for a change of venue, to move the case out of the Northeast Ohio area. Another is to sever, or separate, the two trials, trying each defendant separately.

Dimora's attorneys, William and Andrea Whitaker, say that pre-trial publicity and ongoing media coverage of the investigation will not allow Dimora to get a fair trial in Northeast Ohio.

William Whitaker said that, even coming into court today, "the circus-like atmosphere here, even as we tried to get into the courthouse today...had about a dozen cameras."

In the U.S. response to that motion last month, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Rowland wrote that Dimora and his attorneys "failed to show the media coverage of his alleged crimes led to a sufficiently inflammatory or circus-like atmosphere in the Greater Akron area."

Wednesday morning, there were six people -- four cameras held by videographers from four Cleveland-based TV stations and two reporters -- outside the courthouse covering Gabor's and Dimora's arrivals.

Another motion seeks to sever the cases of Dimora and Gabor so that they can be tried separately. A third motion asks the court to throw out all wiretaps and items seized from Dimora's office and home.

Dimora, 56, of Independence, and Gabor, 52, of Parma, are charged with multiple counts in the ongoing Cuyahoga County corruption investigation. Both were indicted and arrested on Sept. 15, 2010, and both maintain their innocence.

Gabor worked in the weights and measures department in the auditor's office. County records show he worked an average of 10 hours a week in the office and spent the rest of the time running errands for then-Cuyahoga County Recorder Frank Russo and Dimora and driving Dimora to county and personal events.

Among other charges, Gabor is charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, Hobbs Act conspiracy, conspiracy to obstruct justice, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and racketeering.

Dimora is charged with, among other counts, operating a continuing criminal enterprise, that included receiving bribes and kickbacks, trips, home improvements and appliances, meals, entertainment, jewelry, lodging and prostitutes.

For that, prosecutors contend Dimora awarded his friends and benefactors county contracts and gave them or their relatives jobs.


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