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Dimora trial: Judge decided delay motion on phone

5:47 PM, Feb 21, 2012   |    comments
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AKRON -- In a docket entry posted on the federal court website late Tuesday, it was learned how the court decided to handle Jimmy Dimora's defense attorneys' motion to delay the trial until Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi ruled on the delay motion in a Monday holiday telephone conference with both sides.

In a telephone conference held on February 20, 2012, the court addressed with counsel for defendant Jimmy Dimora's motion for a two-day recess of trial.

Lioi wrote that "Based upon the information provided during the conference, it was determined that counsel for defendant Dimora did have two witnesses who could be called to testify on February 21, 2012. Accordingly, the court determined that the trial could resume on February 21, 2012."

The court agreed, however, to not require a full day of testimony in light of the representation of counsel for defendant Dimora that other witnesses could not be contacted and were unavailable to testify that day.

There was no mention of the telephone conference during the trial on Tuesday.

Late Monday, attorneys for Dimora filed a motion in federal court, asking for a two-day delay in the trial, to have it resume on Thursday Feb. 23 instead of Tuesday Feb. 21.

Attorney Bill Whitaker said the reason for the request was that the court and federal prosecutors for more than a year had long said the trial would last three months.

Relying on that, defense attorneys said the government also indicated that it would rest its case on Feb. 27. Whitaker said the defense had subpoenaed witnesses to begin appearing on Feb. 27.

Then, on Feb. 16, prosecutors told defense attorneys that they intended to rest their case Feb. 21 -- resting their case six days earlier than they previously indicated.

Whitaker said he has been unable to contact some of the defense witnesses, some are now out of town, others could not appear until Feb. 27.

Jurors seated for the trial had been off since the end of court on Thursday Feb. 16, and were scheduled to return to the courthouse at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Once the prosecution rested, the defense was supposed to begin immediately.

Defense attorneys said they had been planning for a three-month trial.

But when federal prosecutors ended their case after six weeks, they were unprepared to bring their potential witnesses to court in time to testify. "...the drastic difference in the time previously indicated has created enormous problems in gathering and organizing the defense case..." Whitaker's motion reads.

Only two witnesses took the stand in Dimora's defense and testified briefly. Court was adjourned just before 2 p.m. and will resume at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

WKYC-TV

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