Akron: Russo takes stand in judge's corruption trial

6:12 PM, Jun 6, 2011   |    comments
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AKRON -- The case against a Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court judge charged in connection with the ongoing corruption investigation is underway in federal court in Akron.

Just after 3:30 p.m. Monday, former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo took the stand in the trial of Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court Judge Steven Terry.

Terry faces five counts of mail fraud.

Russo has already pleaded guilty and faces 21 years in prison. Russo, who has made a plea deal with prosecutors in return for getting some of his prison time reduced, remains free while he testifies against other corruption probe defendants.

He testified against former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Bridget McCafferty in March. She was found guilty on all 10 counts of lying to the FBI and faces up to 50 years in prison.

She is scheduled to be sentenced in July.  

In their opening statements today, prosecutors alleged that Judge Terry was "bought and paid for" by Russo, including Terry's appointment to the bench in 2006 and his reelection in 2008.

The defense countered in its opening statement that Terry earned his judicial appointment through his work with the city and county and his own political connections which put his name before the governor.

Testimony then began with an FBI agent presenting wire tapped phone conversations in which Russo asked for help in an ongoing mortgage case.

Terry is on administrative leave pending the outcome of the case.


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