Cleveland: Vince Russo sentenced to 18 months in prison

11:47 AM, Dec 11, 2010   |    comments
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U.S. District Judge Kathleen O'Malley also ordered Vince Russo pay $3,036.49 in restitution, and granted Russo's request to allow him to delay reporting to prison in order to be home for the birth of his twin boys.

Russo's wife, Shannon, is due to deliver the babies this month. The couple also has a young daughter. Shannon Russo was brought into the federal courthouse and into the courtroom in a wheelchair.   

In mid-July, Vince Russo, 31, of Willoughby Hills, was charged with four federal counts, including bribery, conspiracy, extortion, and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

He pleaded not guilty and was freed on $50,000 bond. He later changed his plea to guilty after his father, former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo, made a deal with federal prosecutors.

Frank Russo agreed to plead guilty to the charges agianst him and accept a sentence of nearly 22 years in prison in exchange for his son not being charged with any further crimes.

Vince Russo was facing years in prison. He received 18 months in prison on each of the four charges against him but the sentences are to run concurrently.

"I am taking full responsibility for my actions," Vince Russo told the court, reading from a prepared statement.

"I learned a lot and I lost my reputation in the community...People make mistakes...I hurt my family in many ways, and I had a part in diminishing the Russo name."

"I apologize to the court, to the Maple Heights School District, and to my family."

Russo was charged with delivering two television sets to former Maple Heights School Board President Santina "Sandy" Klimkowski, and then instructing her to give one to then-Maple Heights School treasurer Christopher Krause.

Both Klimkowski and Krause pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. The televisions were said to be bribes in exchange for contracts awarded to Vincore, Russo's company.

In court in July, Vince Russo said he is being treated for testicular cancer, suffers from panic attacks and chronic fatigue syndrome, and is under the care of a therapist.


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