Dimora witness Kelley: "I was embarrassed, scared"

12:49 PM, Jan 30, 2012   |    comments
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AKRON -- Prime witness J. Kevin Kelley began his testimony against Jimmy Dimora on Monday morning by revealing that he was "embarassed and scared" the day his home and office were raided on July 28, 2008.

Kelley, who pleaded guilty to 11 counts in the Cuyahoga County corruption investigation, is expected to be on the witness stand for several days to recount dozens of schemes and incidents in which he and Dimora were invloved.

Dimora is charged with some 3 dozen federal criminal counts. He is accused of using his former office as Cuyahoga County Commissioner as a criminal enterprise. Co-defendant Michael Gabor faces 5 counts and Kelley is expected to testify against him as well.

Kelley, who has been living in Florida for health reasons since his arrest and plea in 2009, testified about the events of July 28, 2008, when FBI agents raided his office at the Cuyahoga County Engineers department, and his home in Parma.

"I was heading into work," Kelley told a federal court jury in Akron, "saying the FBI had raided the office I was working in and was looking for three people. I thought this person was joking."

Kelley said he introduced himself to two FBI agents when he got to his office, and they followed him home, where Kelley contacted an attorney and prepared to cooperate with them.

He said he did not want to talk at his office because "I was embarassed to walk in, and scared to walk into the office."

Kelley's testimony will be key against Dimora.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Antoinette Bacon had Kelley tell the jury about the deal he cut when he pleaded guilty. Kelley said in exchange for his guilty plea and upcoming testimony, he will serve 5 years and 10 months in prison, pay $500,000 restitution, and pay $200,000 to the IRS.

"Most of my friends are no longer my friends," Kelley said as he described "my actions and my failures."

"I had to tell my wife about my activities regarding prostitutes. My three older children I had to have that discussion with. I don't know if you can imagine how difficult that was. It's been very traumatic on my family."

Kelley testified that he has lost his three houses and his job since his arrest, guilty plea, and conviction. He described being in a "serious financial condition."


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