Feds: More charges possible for Jimmy Dimora

6:01 PM, Nov 4, 2011   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Assistant U.S. Attorney Antoinette Bacon told a federal judge during a Friday hearing that "We anticipate a superseding indictment in this case on more counts," meaning federal prosecutors intend to level more charges against either former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora or former Doan Pyramid Electric president Michael Forlani or both.

For now, the trial on additional corruption charges involving Dimora and Forlani is scheduled to go forward on Dec. 12.

Entering the courthouse a full hour before the hearing Friday, Dimora took issue with a WKYC videographer following him, putting his hand on the camera lens and pushing the camera away. 

During the 45-minute status hearing on the 18th floor, U.S. District Court Judge James Gwin said that "I'm amenable to trying the case tomorrow..." but "...we'll plan on trying this on the 12th."

But Dimora is already scheduled to start his first trial on his original corruption, bribery and racketeering charges on Jan. 4 before U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi in federal court in Akron. The Cleveland trial is the only trial scheduled for Forlani.

Bacon said again Friday that federal officials expect that trial to last three months down in federal court in Akron.

Dimora, 56, of Independence and Forlani, 54, of Gates Mills, both pleaded not guilty two weeks ago after a new 91-page federal racketeering, extortion and bribery indictment was filed against them Oct. 21.

One of Forlani's attorneys, Dan Webb, of the Chicago law firm of Winston Strawn, told Gwin that "I anticipate that we will file a motion to waive a speedy trial," meaning Webb would ask to continue the Dec. 12 trial to a later date.

Webb also told Gwin that he is working out altering the federal court order about who Forlani may speak to while the case is pending, noting that Forlani is not allowed to talk to his own two children because they were part of the Pyramid business.

Forlani is also represented by Cleveland attorney Jerry Gold.

The last 15 minutes of the hearing saw all the attorneys in a private sidebar conversation at the bench with Gwin.

During that time, Dimora stood up at the defense table, stretched his arms and yawned a few times, while Forlani, sitting in front of Dimora, glanced back at Dimora a few times, pursing his lips and shaking his head.

The new 91-page indictment filed Oct. 21 stated  that Dimora 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.

Forlani, charged with mail fraud and related charges, stands accused of allegedly bribing Dimora and others with gifts, meals, money and free home improvements, in return for help securing contracting work on public projects.

The indictment is also filled with off-color transcripts of wire-tapped conversations, describing previously unknown schemes by Dimora to enrich himself or his friends at the expense of taxpayers.


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