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Former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora released from prison

Dimora had served nearly 12 years in prison for public corruption charges.

DEVENS, Mass. — Former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora has been released from prison after serving nearly 12 years for public corruption charges, 3News has confirmed. 

The news was first reported by Phil Trexler of The Marshall Project Cleveland.

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Dimora had been serving his 23-year prison sentence at the Devens Federal Medical Center in Massachusetts. His sentenced was reduced from 28 years after a partial appellate court win last year.

According to Trexler, Dimora is now back in Northeast Ohio, but is not able to speak publicly about his release per home confinement rules. Family members tell Trexler that Dimora is "relieved to be home and grateful to prison officials for his release."

The 67-year-old former Cuyahoga County Democratic Party leader has been in poor health and was granted release under the CARES Act, Trexler reports. That would require Dimora to remain under house arrest for several more years.

3News' Emma Henderson spoke with Trexler on Friday:

During his sentencing hearing last year, Dimora's attorney stated that his client was dealing with "a heart defect (atrial fibrillation), an intestinal disorder (diverticulitis), an inner-ear equilibrium problem (Meniere’s disease), and a knee which requires replacement. He suffered a stroke, is diabetic, and is in a wheelchair." Dimora also had two bouts of COVID-19.

Dimora was convicted in July 2012 on 32 counts, including the Hobbs Act, bribery, and other charges. Federal prosecutors said Dimora “used his office to engage in a series of wide-ranging bribery and fraud schemes wherein he ‘received over $250,000 in bribes, including ‘home renovations, expensive dinners, trips, . . . and encounters with prostitutes.’”

In multiple conversations with 3News during his prison term, Dimora continually insisted on his innocence, stating that he was just one of three county commissioners who voted on contracts and any gifts he received were noted in ethics reports filed with the state of Ohio.

Often, his anger was directed at former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo. The duo were the prime targets in a massive federal investigation into political corruption in Cuyahoga County that resulted in 70 arrests. 

Dimora and Russo took very different approaches when it came to their indictments.

While Dimora denied involvement in any crimes, Russo admitted accepting over $1 million in bribes and favors and agreed to cooperate with federal investigators. That cooperation forced him to testify against fellow defendants, including Dimora. 

Russo was originally sentenced to 22 years in prison, but his cooperation reduced the sentence to 14 years. In May 2020, Russo was granted early release due to his age and the COVID-19 pandemic. He died in April 2022 at the age of 72.

Dimora believed his one-time friend Russo had gotten off easy while leaving him to rot behind bars. In a 2018 interview with 3News, Dimora claimed Russo was the true "Godfather" of the criminal operation and that he had "made a deal with the devil."

"I'm not talking about the government," Dimora further clarified. "I actually mean Russo made a deal with the devil."

Amid the investigation into misconduct by Russo, Dimora and others, Cuyahoga County voters in 2009 approved a sweeping reform bill that replaced the three commissioners with a single elected executive along with an 11-member county council.

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