AKRON -- A former county official asked a judge in Cincinnati to halt his racketeering trial here while he presses his legal argument that a second federal indictment against him amounts to double jeopardy, or being prosecuted twice for the same crime.
Attorneys for former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora want to stop the trial and filed an appeal Wednesday evening with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. The filing came after the first day of jury selection in U.S. District Court in Akron.
Trial Judge Sara Lioi ruled Tuesday that double jeopardy doesn't apply because his first trial isn't finished.
The government has disputed the double jeopardy claim.
Prosecutors won't comment on the move to stop the trial, spokesman Mike Tobin with the U.S. attorney's office said Thursday in an email.
Dimora's attorney said in the filing that Dimora would be put at legal risk "from having to deal with simultaneous indictments alleging nearly identical criminal conduct."
The judge said the double jeopardy issue cannot be argued until the first trial ends. No trial date has been set for the second indictment, on conspiracy charges.
Dimora has pleaded not guilty to both indictments.
The first indictment alleged that Dimora, a former chairman of the county Democratic Party in Cleveland, accepted bribes in return for steering contracts and arranging county government jobs.
The second indictment for extortion and conspiracy named Dimora and a contractor who allegedly provided gifts, meals, money and home improvements in return for contracting work on public projects.
The Associated Press