Witness: Frank Russo

3:36 PM, Dec 20, 2011   |    comments
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Prosecutors plan to have former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo testify against his best friend Jimmy Dimora. Prosecutors were granted a request to have Russo's date to report to federal prison delayed until Feb. 29.

Russo, as Dimora's "sidekick" and political ally for more than 15 years, was privy to most of Dimora's on-the-clock and off-the-clock dealings. 

Russo, 62, of Bratenahl, was charged in an information on Sept. 9, 2010, with 21 counts of bribery, obstruction of justice and tax fraud.

An "information" is filed when the defendant is already cooperating with prosecutors. Just hours before the charges were announced, Russo resigned as auditor.

He pleaded guilty to all charges on Sept. 16, 2010, the day after Dimora was arrested and charged.

Russo admitted to taking thousands and thousands of dollars worth of bribes, free trips to Las Vegas, lowering friends' property tax bills in exchange for bribes, and even fixing an election and influencing two judges.

On Dec. 15, 2010, Russo was sentenced to 21 years and 10 months in prison at the Federal Correctional Institution Loretto in Loretto, Pennsylvania.

In a plea deal with prosecutors reached later in December, 2010, Russo, through his attorney Roger Synenberg, agreed to cooperate and even testify against other defendants.

He testified in the 2011 corruption trials of former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas judges Bridget McCafferty and Steven Terry. Both were convicted and sentenced to prison.

Russo is hoping to have his prison sentence reduced for his testimony.


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