AKRON -- Few from the public except one man from Independence have attended most of Jimmy Dimora's public corruption trial the last three weeks.
Day after day since Jan. 12, with two exceptions, Leo Glaser, 64, of Independence, has sat either in the courtroom itself or the public viewing room on the lower level of the federal courthouse.
Many days he has been the only member of the public in attendance. The trial is expected to last three months.
Jimmy Dimora, 56, of Independence, and co-defendant Michael Gabor, 52, of Parma, are on trial on multiple corruption charges and both maintain their innocence.
Why the interest?
Glaser, a retired engineer, is well-known in Northeast Ohio. This past November, Glaser, a native of Hungary, ran unsuccessfully for a fourth time for mayor of Independence.
He also ran unsuccessfully in November, 2010, for the District 6 seat on the newly formed Cuyahoga County Council after voters approved county government reform in the wake of the FBI's ongoing corruption probe.
Glaser knows his way around political circles but he also has jury experience in a 2002 public corruption trial that garnered national media attention nine years ago -- the bribery and racketeering trial of then-Congressman Jim Traficant, which lasted two and a half months.
On April 11, 2002, Glaser was Juror #8 on a jury which found the nine-term Traficant, then 61, guilty on all 10 counts of bribery, tax evasion and racketeering.
In comparison to charges in the trial of Dimora, Traficant was found guilty of requiring staff members to do personal chores for him and kick back a portion of their paychecks and of accepting cash bribes and various favors from businessmen.
Glaser said he has the time to come and watch and is also interested in watching another corruption trial.
Glaser sits quietly mostly in the courtroom, wearing a sport coat and slacks. On his left lapel over his heart are two pins.
Learning that he was a veteran, Glaser says a federal courthouse employee just gave him a Vietnam lapel pin and he wears that below his Bronze Star pin.
Glaser said he wants to hear what is said in court for himself. He said he has read so many accounts in the media about the trial that don't accurately reflect what actually happened in the courtroom.
"You know, the (one media outlet) tends to lean one way on this, on its coverage," Glaser told Channel 3. "You need to hear it for yourself."
U.S. District Judge Lesley Wells sentenced Traficant to eight years in prison and fined him $150,000. The U.S. House later voted 420-1 to strip him of his seat, making Traficant only the second member of Congress kicked out since the Civil War.