Dimora trial: Defense witness arrives too late

3:44 PM, Feb 22, 2012   |    comments
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AKRON -- Dimora's defense attorneys were likely thinking of the Marvin Gaye song "Can I Get a Witness?" after their scheduled witness failed to arrive on time Wednesday afternoon and the judge excused the jury for the rest of the day.

Attorneys for former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora could only stand and watch Wednesday afternoon as U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi excused the jury right after lunch for the second day in a row, as defense attorneys William and Andrea Whitaker had no other witnesses ready to testify.

Ten minutes later, defense witness Paul Nick, the executive director for the Columbus-based Ohio Ethics Commission, walked into the courtroom, saying he was caught up in traffic. Lioi said, "You know how to get here now?" and Nick said yes. Then Lioi said she would see him tomorrow morning.

Late Monday, the Whitakers had asked for a two-delay delay in the trial until Thursday because they were not ready to present their defense. They said they had counted on the court and prosecutors' statements that the trial would last three months and the prosecution planned to rest about Feb. 27.

When the prosecution rested Tuesday (Feb. 21), they said some of their witnesses were not available and had been scheduled for Feb. 27.

Lioi did not grant their request but both Tuesday's and Wednesday's court sessions were shortened to half-days when the defense couldn't muster enough witnesses.

In those half-day sessions, the Whitakers presented a handful of witnesses, none of which were on the stand more than 45 minutes.

On Wednesday, Berea Mayor Cyril Kleem testified regarding the city's application for a handicapped-access bridge building project at Coe Lake that was first turned down by the then-county administrator for application.

Kleem testified he "made a request of Commissioner Dimora" to look further at the issue because Berea city officials felt the county administrator was wrong in nixing the project. "I told him that it was federal guidelines that allowed us to submit the application..." Kleem testified.

Kleem testified he had no discussions and no meetings with Dimora after the application process.

City of Bedford Finance Director Frank Gambosi testified Wednesday regarding sources of funding for Bedford judges

In cross-examination by prosecutors, he testified that Bedford had numerous sources of grant funding from Cuyahoga County.

Bedford City School District Superintendent Sherman Micsak testified regarding the district's hiring of Lauren Zavarella, the daughter of contractor and government witness Nicholas Zavarella, who said Dimora helped get his daughter government jobs.

Micsak said he never saw a letter of recommendation for Lauren Zavarella that Dimora sent to the district's former superintendent Martha Motsco.


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