Federal court sets date for next Jimmy Dimora trial

7:21 PM, Mar 22, 2012   |    comments
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AKRON -- U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi has set the dates for the upcoming trial of businessman Michael Forlani and the second trial of former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora.

According to court records posted Thursday afternoon, jury selection will take place beginning at 8 a.m. Oct. 17, with opening statements set for Oct. 22.

The next hearing and final pre-trial conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. Oct. 3.

Dimora, 56, of Independence, was already convicted on 33 of 34 federal counts on March 9. For now, Dimora is being held in the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown.

His attorneys have already asked the court to allow him to be freed until his July 25 sentencing for his March 9 convictions but Lioi has not ruled upon that.

On Oct. 21, 2011, a federal grand jury returned a 91-page indictment against Forlani, an electrical contractor, with additional charges against Dimora.

The charges against Dimora in that indictment include conspiracy to commit mail fraud and other charges.

The new Dimora charges involve the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Justice Center project, RTA and other agencies.

Forlani, 55, of Gates Mills, is the former president of Doan Pyramid Electric, which used to be one of the largest electrical wiring companies in Ohio. 

Doan Pyramid Electric reorganized in October 2008, three months after 200 FBI and IRS agents raided county government offices and businesses, including Doan. It reorganized as Zenith Systems and operated mostly by former Doan Pyramid employees.

The Forlani charges revolve around the $125 million Veterans Administration project on University Circle, which included a 2,080-space parking garage, an office building and a 122-bed dwelling for homeless veterans near the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center.

In the indictment, it is alleged that Forlani bribed Dimora and others with gifts, meals, money and free home improvements in return for help landing contracting work on public projects.

Doan Pyramid won electrical contracts to provide work at the new Juvenile Justice Center and the Louis Stokes VA Hospital.

Federal prosecutors said Forlani also bribed former Cleveland City Councilwoman Sabra Priece Scott. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery.

Lioi also posted Thursday how the trial schedule will be handled. Below are some of the stipulations.

Trial days will begin at 8 a.m. and continue until 5 p.m. unless circumstances dictate otherwise. A one-hour lunch break and two, fifteen-minute breaks will be provided.

Attorneys should expect to be present in the courtroom from 7:45 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. in order to address matters outside the presence of the jury. All parties are to be present in the courtroom at all times when the jury is seated.

Attorneys for all sides shall exchange exhibits on or before Sept. 26.

A conference with the court and counsel to finalize juror questionnaires is scheduled for noon Aug. 17.


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