Sketch of Jimmy Dimora in court on Monday, July 30. Coutesy: Bob Novak.
AKRON -- Shortly after making tearful statements from his seat at the defense table, former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora was sentenced to 28 years in priosn with three years probation to follow after his release.
"I want to emphatically deny that I had any involvement in that type of illegal activity," Dimora said, prior to the sentencing in his corruption case.
Expanded coverage: Jimmy Dimora corruption trial
He ended his statements by asking the judge to not separate him from his family, after also saying, "I know the government spent a lot of money on this. I believe they created a mountain out of a molehill."
Read: Our breakdown of Tuesday's sentencing hearing
The sentencing phase began Monday morning with Judge Sara Lioi hearing arguments from both sides before handing down the sentence Tuesday at 2 p.m.
Dimora, who was convicted on 32 counts on March 9, will be 85 years old by the time his prison sentence is over.
Vote: What do you think of Dimora's sentence?
Dimora's attorneys had argued that his age and poor health should afford him a lighter sentence, but Lioi said his health could be addressed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
"It is our hope that this case will give pause and serve as a warning to others that there will be zero tolerance," said Stephen Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Cleveland FBI office, "and that people should not expect this kind of conduct by their government."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Antoinette Bacon, who was the lead lawyer in the courtroom for the government, said, "The women and men who have led this investigation have given up countless nights and evenings and weekends and holidays in pursuit of public service."
She added, "Whether their sacrifice will result in any meaningful change will depend on the leaders and the citizens of Cuyahoga County."