AKRON -- A federal court jury was told of a tangled web of bribery, fraud, conspiracy, and obstruction centering around Jimmy Dimora on Thursday morning.
In an opening statement in Dimora's public corruption trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Antoinette Bacon told the jury Dimora turned public service from a world of "honesty, integrity, trust, and service," into one of "bribery, fraud, conspiracy, and obstruction."
Bolstered by a pyramid of photos, graphics, and a number of recorded phone calls, Bacon spent the first hour of her presentation charging that Dimora and his friend Frank Russo created and lived in a "world where they took cash, a world where they took an expensive trip to Las Vegas, a world where jobs were sold, a world where they tried to fix court cases, a world where they tried to cover their tracks."
Bacon wove in the alleged role of Dimora's co-defendant, Michael Gabor, charged with bribery, and the roles of many figures in the Cuyahoga County public corruption investigation who have already pleaded guilty or been found guilty.
As Bacon continued into a second hour of the prosecutor's opening statement, she emphasized the theme of power and influence, and how Jimmy Dimora was willing to sell it, and other figures in the corruption probe were willing to buy it.
Near the conclusion of her presentation, Bacon told the jury that people who have already admitted to their role in the investigation would testify against Dimora and give them a guided tour of the corrupt world of Jimmy Dimora.
"The door to this world, which had been shut so long, is about to be opened wide for you," the assistant prosector concluded. "This is not a world of candy canes and lollipops."
Just after 11 a.m., the jury began to to hear from Andrea Whitaker, one of two lawyers for Dimora. Her opening statement included an argument that Dimora never did any official action because he was paid to do so. Whitaker said Dimora's "criteria was to help people who made a legitimate request. It was his job."
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