Feds: Frank Russo should delay prison, will testify against Dimora

5:08 PM, May 12, 2011   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Federal prosecutors want to delay former Cuyahoga County auditor Frank Russo's date to report to prison from May 26 until at least Oct. 17.

They say they expect him to testify against former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Steven Terry in their upcoming trials.

Dimora is scheduled for trial starting Sept. 12 and Terry's trial is scheduled to begin June 6. Dimora's attorneys have asked for a three-month continuance for his trial but U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi has yet to rule on that motion.

In a motion filed in federal court that his attorney Roger Synenberg did not oppose, federal officials stated that "the United States has selected this date based on its anticipation that defendant's testimony in the Dimora trial should be completed by then, and that cooperation defendant has been providing in connection with other aspects of the investigation will also be substantially completed by then."

Russo was sentenced to just over 21 years in prison and is scheduled to report to the Federal Correctional Institution Loretto in Loretto, Pennsylvania on May 26.

Russo was charged by way of an information and pleaded guilty on Sept. 16, 2010. As part of the plea agreement, both sides stipulated that Russo should report to Loretto on May 26.

"At the time of the plea, there was no indication that (Russo) had any interest in cooperating with the United States," the motion reads. "For the first time, and shortly before sentencing, Russo approached the United States about cooperating. The United States reported this development to Judge (Kate) O'Malley at the sentencing on Dec. 15, 2010 and indicated that at some point the United States might seek a reduction in Defendant's sentence..."

"To date, defendant has submitted to numerous lengthy proffer sessions and has reviewed a substantial volume of documentary evidence in anticipation of his testimony in the McCafferty, Terry and Dimora trials and as part of the continuing investigation of corruption in Cuyahoga County."

Russo testified in March at the trial of former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Bridget McCafferty. A federal jury found her guilty on all 10 counts of lying to the FBI. Her sentencing is scheduled for June and she is facing up to five years in prison on each count.

Prosecutors say that, if Russo went to Loretto on May 26, he "would have to be returned to the district almost immediately for testimony..." in the Terry trial.

They also cite invetigators and prosecutors traveling the "...212 miles to Loretto for this purpose will place a significant strain on government resources both in terms of personnel time and in terms of expending travel funds from the tight travel budgets of both the FBI and the United States Attorney's Office."


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