AKRON -- Jimmy Dimora's lawyers and Michael Gabor's lawyers got their first crack at star witness Frank Russo Wednesday at the Cuyahoga County corruption trial.
Russo was grilled for hours. The defense team tried to hammer home that Russo was the real bad guy, not Jimmy Dimora. It was also a day filled with bickering, and even bursts of laughter in the Akron courtroom.
Painting Frank Russo as the bad guy was part of the defense plan, as the lawyers for both Jimmy Dimora and Michael Gabor got Russo to admit to all crimes to which he has pleaded, got him to talk about all the bribes he took, trying to persuade the jury to not trust Russo when he talks about what Jimmy Dimora did.
Frank Russo finished his testimony and cross-examination just before 5 p.m. Wednesday. It took two full days, a little less than expected and that means this trial is moving a little faster than was first projected.
There are still an unknown number of witnesses yet to testify for the prosecution and they may be up on the witness stand Thursday and maybe Friday.
The Dimora team got their crack at Frank Russo fast, almost first thing Wednesday morning.
He testified for the prosecution for only 20 minutes before attorney Bill Whitaker took over and tried to defend his client, Jimmy Dimora.
"It didn't take you very long after you came to power," is what he said to Russo, about how quickly the former county auditor started taking what amounted to over $1 million in career bribes.
"You can do right and you can do wrong," Russo replied.
Whitaker and Russo talked at the same time so many times, U.S. District Court Judge Sara Lioi once mistakenly said, after a break, "Mr. Russo, you may continue the cross examination," and that's when the courtroom burst into laughter.
Michael Gabor's lawyer Leif Christman got in on the attack on Russo in the afternoon. "How many times did you get money in your pocket that would be bribes?" he asked Russo.
And Christman frequently complained to Lioi when Russo was not responding to his questions. The two battled back and forth for the better part of an hour.