AKRON -- A star witness in Jimmy Dimora's corruption trial held his own under cross examination Thursday morning. Businessman Ferris Kleem deflected questions meant to minimize his relationship with Dimora.
Andrea Whitaker, one of Dimora's attorneys, asked Kleem whether people other than he courted Dimora for favors.
Kleem, who has already pleaded guilty to a bribery related charge, acknowledged many people approached Dimora, but did not downplay his special relationship with the then-county commissioner.
"Are you friends with commissioner Dimora?" she asked. Kleem quickly replied, "We're acquaintances." Whitaker pressed further, "Were you friends with Mr. Dimora?"
"Friends of convenience," was Kleem's reply.
Whitaker also probed Kleem's relationship with other political figures in Cuyahoga County. At one point she asked him, "Do you vote for judicial candidates in Cuyahgoa County?"
Kleem replied, "Yeah, eeny, meeny, miny, moe," gesturing with his finger as if pointing to a ballot.
The Berea businessman also said "yes" when asked if Dimora was not shy talking about women and sex.
He did not recall whether Dimora gave a Las Vegas prostitute, whom Kleem had hired for him for $1,000, an extra $300 tip.
Dimora has said that all he got from Suzzanne Michaels was a massage. But Whitaker, his own attorney, referred to her when questioning Kleem as "a prostitute."