Dimora trial: Attorneys spar over motions, exhibits

5:44 PM, Feb 17, 2012   |    comments
Photo: Federal Bar Association
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AKRON -- It was a day off for the jury but a full day of work for attorneys and the judge Friday in the Cuyahoga County corruption trial of former county Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and former county auditor's employee Michael Gabor.

Gabor's defense attorney Leif Christman objected to only one piece of evidence the government had presented -- the word "coded" used to describe a wiretapped call in a timeline exhibit.

U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi agreed and the word was removed.

Dimora's father-daughter attorney team of Andrea and William Whitaker then began their objections -- which ended up numbering in the hundreds and hundreds. The objections lasted for more than six hours.

William Whitaker said at the start of the day that he objected to between 20 and 30 percent of the more than 800 exhibits federal prosecutors showed jurors over the first five weeks of the trial.

Lioi denied motions by both Dimora's and Gabor's attorneys to dismiss all the corruption-related charges against them but did take four of the corruption-related charges under advisement, agreeing to rule on them before the trial resumes Tuesday.

The prosecution is expected to rest its case first thing on Tuesday, the day that jurors are scheduled to return. The defense is then expected to start presenting its case, starting with Dimora.

Monday is a federal holiday and the court is not in session.

Dimora, 56, of Independence, is charged with 36 counts, including multiple counts of bribery, racketeering, conspiracy and filing false tax returns. He has pleaded not guilty.

Gabor, 52, of Parma, is charged with seven counts of bribery. He has also pleaded not guilty.

The trial began on Jan. 4 and is expected to last through the end of February.

All day Friday, Whitaker objected to hundreds of the government's exhibits, from pictures of Dimora, Gabor and former county Auditor Frank Russo and others in bathing suits in Dimora's back yard to a weather history report documenting an "Indian summer day."

Lioi admitted both into evidence. And there are other examples.

William Whitaker tried to get the printed transcripts of calls between Dimora and Gina Meuti Coppers, a longtime family friend of Dimora's with whom he is heard talking about meeting her for sexual trysts at the Holiday Inn in Independence, thrown out.

Prosecutors say that she had sex with Dimora in exchange for him getting her a full-time job with benefits at the Bedford Municipal Court.

Prosecutors said the calls established a conspiracy where Coppers was asking Dimora for a job "on the terms, conditions and salary she wanted," prosecutors said, noting also that testimony showed Dimora's control over the City of Bedford and its officials.

Then Whitaker also objected to all transcripts of all wiretapped calls, saying they were repetitive.

"The court finds the transcripts are an aid to the jury and...will clearly instruct the jurors that the transcripts are not evidence. The evidence comes from the audio and not the transcripts," Lioi said, allowing the transcripts to remain in evidence.

William Whitaker also objected to a photograph of the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, saying it was unnecessary.

To that, Lioi said, "For one who has never been to Las Vegas, it was very informative to me because I can't even conjure up images of buildings like that," then allowed the photo to be admitted into evidence.


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