CLEVELAND -- Former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimorapleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court Wednesday afternoon.
The plea was regarding newextortion, racketeering and bribery charges revealed in a federal indictment handed down Friday last week against Dimora and Gates Mills businessman Michael Forlani, former president of Doan Pyramid, an electrical contracting firm.
Forlani, 54,pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Friday and was released on a personal bond.
The indictment stated that Dimora, 56, of Independence, used or tried to use his influence with two taxpayer-funded agencies -- the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority and the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority.
Dimora is scheduled to go to trial in federal court in Akron on previous charges beginning Jan. 4. These new charges, for now, would be handled in a second trial after the first was completed.
Dimora's first trial is expected to last three months, according to estimates of U.S. District Court Judge Sara Lioi.
Forlani, charged withmail fraud and related charges, stands accused ofallegedly bribing Dimora and others with gifts, meals, money and free home improvements, in return for help securing contracting work on public projects.