Frank Russo to stay out of jail until February

8:04 PM, Jun 23, 2011   |    comments
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AKRON -- U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi has granted the federal government's request to allow former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo to delay reporting to federal prison until Feb. 29 now, according to federal court documents.

Prosecutors first asked that he remain free until Oct. 17, allowing him to testify in the then-Sept. 12 trial of former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora. Then Dimora's trial was moved to Jan. 4, so prosecutors asked for a later reporting date for Russo.

Russo is also expected to testify in the Oct. 17 trial of former deputy auditor Samir Mohammad.  

Russo pleaded guilty to 21 corruption-related charges in September and was sentenced to almost 22 years in prison. He was originally scheduled to report to Loretto federal prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania on May 26.

But before he was sentenced, Russo negotiated a deal with prosecutors to to save his family members -- except his son Vincent -- from prosecution.

In February, Vincent Russo turned himself in to U.S. Marshals to begin serving his 18 months in prison. He pleaded guilty to bribery charges on Sept. 17 and was sentenced Dec. 10.

Frank Russo has been providing information to prosecutors and has already testified in two trials of corruption probe defendants -- former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Bridget McCafferty in March and now-former Common Pleas Judge Steven Terry in early June.

Both were found guilty by a jury. 

At first, Lioi had allowed Russo to remain free until June 30 and said she would consider extending that date in the future. On Monday, Lioi granted the extension to Feb. 29.

On July 28, 2008, about 200 FBI and IRS agents raided the homes and offices of elected county officials and contractors who did business with the county. So far, there have been about 50 defendants charged in the corruption probe.

Most are awaiting sentencing, about 8 are serving prison terms and two have died.


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