CLEVELAND -- On behalf of convicted Cuyahoga County corruption probe defendant Jimmy Dimora, his attorney Christian Grostic filed an appeal of Dimora's conviction Saturday morning with the court of appeals.
The filing is an appeal of his conviction, not his sentence.
Dimora, 57, who is now in a West Virginia federal prison serving his 28-year sentence, was a former Cuyahoga County commissioner and chairman of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party.
He was found guilty March 9, 2012, on 33 counts and U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi sentenced him on July 31, 2012.
The appeal alleges:
- that the district court committed reversible error by excluding evidence central to Dimora's defense- his ethics reports -- and thereby allowing the government to mislead the jury on a key issue in the case.
- the district court erred by changing its pretrial ruling and excluding Dimora's ethics reports. It alleges Dimora's ethics reports were not hearsay because they were not offered to prove that he actually received things of value
- the district court abused its discretion by changing its pretrial ruling and excluding evidence that would refute misleading testimony the court permitted the government to introduce repeatedly.
- the district court committed an error when it excluded evidence central to Dimora's defense and allowed the government to mislead the jury on a key issue in the case. It alleges that the district court compounded its error by excluding the ethics reports of Dimora's alleged co-conspirator who, unlike Dimora, admitted taking bribes and disclosed nothing.
- the district court committed reversible error by excluding Dimora's evidence that he provided similar assistance to many others without reciving anything of value. It alleges that the district court erred by applying a different and stricter standard to exclude Dimora's reverse 404(b) evidence than what it applied in admitting the government's 404(b) evidence.
- the government repeatedly relied on the absence of Dimora's reverse 404(b) evidence in arguing for his conviction.
- the district court's inadequate instructions permitted the jury, at the government's urging, to convict on lawful conduct.
- the district court rejected instructions that accurately explained the important difference between bribery and lobbying.
- the district court rejected instructions that explained the limits on what acts are official acts.
- there was insufficient evidence to convict Dimora on four counts under correct law defining bribery and official acts as it relates to Nicholas Zavarella (Counts 12-13), John Valentin (Count 11) and Gina Meuti Coppers (Count 9)