AKRON -- Federal prosecutors have put former Cuyahoga County engineer's office employee J. Kevin Kelley on the stand for what is expected to be very damaging testimony this week against former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora.
Kelley, who is also a former Parma school board member, is one of two main witnesses the government expects to confirm most, if not all, of the government's 31 charges in this first trial against Dimora.
Kelley is also expected to testify against Dimora's co-defendant Michael D. Gabor. Gabor, of Parma, is charged with five counts, including bribery. Gabor worked for then-Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo.
Kelley was the first person charged in the FBI's Cuyahoga County corruption probe which went public on July 28, 2008.
In mid-2009, Kelley was the first person charged in the probe, and was the first defendant to plead guilty and cooperated with prosecutors. Kelley moved his family to the Tampa-St. Petersburg area in June, 2009.
Until now, Kelley has not yet testified in court against any of the corruption probe defendants.
Prosecutors say Kelley was the "middle man" and/or the "go-to" guy for years between businesses, contractors, county officials and others where hundreds of thousands of dollars wree affected by the alleged schemes.
Kelley, 42, was also known to arrange for women to join Dimora at a condominium at Stonebridge on the West Bank of the Flats, as well as gambling trips.
Dimora, of Independence, also faces about five additional charges that were filed after his initial indictment.
Russo is the other main witness expected to testify later in the trial. Russo has already pleaded guilty to 21 charges and faces 21 years and 10 months in prison.