Cleveland: Decision delayed in Dimora trial continuance request

5:08 PM, May 5, 2011   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Just after 3 p.m. Thursday, U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi said she will issue a written ruling "at a later date" regarding former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora's request for a three-month continuance for his Sept. 12 corruption trial.

Dimora had asked Lioi to delay the start of his corruption trial and Lioi held a hearing today to hear legal arguments from both sides.

Dimora's attorneys say that, since additional charges were filed against their client on March 30, they need more time to go through tape-recorded conversations and other evidence, which prosecutors intend to use against the former commissioner and former Democratic Party chairman.

Dimora was originally charged in September, 2010.

One of Dimora's attorneys, Andrea Whitaker, told Judge Lioi, "We need to review all of the discovery in order to properly defend him." Whitaker, who with her father William Whitaker took over Dimora's defense in February, said they had expected the new indictments against their client to be released much earlier than March 30.

Judge Lioi told the Whitakers that the court had asked them when they took the case if they could be ready by September. "And you said yes," the judge reminded Andrea Whitaker.

"What has changed in the Superseding Indictment that requires you to have more time?" the judge asked Dimora's attorneys.

"We didn't think the Superseding Indictment would take a couple months to come," Andrea Whitaker replied. "All this certainly can not be reviewed thoroughly by September."

Dick Russ will have a full report on Channel 3 News beginning at 6 p.m.

Federal prosecutors have already filed a motion in opposition to Dimora's request, saying he has had ample time to prepare his defense and knew there might be additional charges when he was originally charged.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Antoinette Bacon said, "The Superseding Indictment will add less than a week to this trial, maybe two or three days. The defendant had already asked that the trial be scheduled not in the summer, but in September because of the anticipating Superseding Indictment."



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