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Dimora trial: Infidelity brought into focus, start delayed

9:09 PM, Jan 6, 2012   |    comments
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AKRON -- By the time the federal court recessed for lunch at 11:30 Friday, the jury pool was down to 63. Just about 1:30 p.m., a jury of seven men and 5 women -- along with four women and two men as alternates -- was seated.

Opening statements were expected to begin Monday (Jan. 9) and the trial, according to Lioi, is expected to last three months. Mid-afternoon, however, the jury was sent home and told that the earliest they would likely report for duty would be Wednesday (Jan. 11).

Lioi said she is delaying the Monday start because a defense motion to halt the trial is pending before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. That motion was filed Wednesday.

It is Day Three of the trial of former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and co-defendant Michael Gabor, a former employee of former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo.

Prosecutors allege that Gabor worked as little as 10 hours a week in the auditor's office and spent the rest of the time driving Dimora and other county officials around to events, parties and entertainment venues.

The jury pool started the day at 67 and four were excused, one for having non-refundable airline tickets for the third week in March.

U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi finished the general jury questioning just after 10 a.m. and then it was the turn of prosecutors and defense attorneys to ask questions that they chose.

Prosecutor Nancy Kelley questioned jurors in general and a few in particular about whether they worked on political campaigns or worked for elected officials.

Then it was Dimora defense attorney William Whitaker's turn.

Among his questions, he asked jurors if they could understand "that defendants have the right to testify or not to testify" on their own behalf and that neither choice indicated guilt or innocence.

There has been much speculation as to whether or not Dimora will testify or not.

Gabor defense attorney Leif Christman questioned the jurors about "the issue of infidelity" and whether or not that would influence any juror's abililty to deliberate and reach a fair verdict.

Gabor also stressed that there are "two trial tables and two separate trials," and that they should look at the two defendants "as if there's a wall between these two tables."

Dimora, 56, of Independence, is charged with dozens of counts, including bribery and racketeering. Gabor, 52, of Parma, faces a handful of charges, including bribery.

Gabor has also been alleged to have been the go-between, or "bagman," for bribes delivered to or arranged between Russo, Dimora and former county engineer's office employee J. Kevin Kelley.

Opening statements were expected to begin Monday (Jan. 9) and the trial, according to Lioi, is expected to last three months. Mid-afternoon, however, the jury was sent home and told that the earliest they would likely report for duty would be Wednesday (Jan. 11).

Lioi said she is delaying the Monday start because a defense motion to halt the trial is pending before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. That motion was filed Wednesday.

Expanded trial coverage

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