Investigator: Dimora wiretaps to be kept secret

7:21 PM, Mar 22, 2012   |    comments
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 PDF Document: Court Dimora evidence order

AKRON -- For all of you who wanted to hear Jimmy Dimora's wiretapped conversations that were played at his corruption trial, including the one that a Las Vegas prostitute was good "but a little chatty," it's not going to happen.

U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi today banned the government from releasing the hundreds of telephone conversations federal prosecutors played during Dimora's trial, which ended with jurors finding him guilty on 33 of 34 counts.

Lioi said releasing recordings of the conversation could affect Dimora's ability to get a fair shake when his second corruption trial begins this fall.  

"Many of the conversations contain vulgar language and deal with inappropriate and sometimes disturbing topics," she wrote, in a 26-page opinion. "There is a very real concern that repeated airings of these recordings on television, on the radio, or on the Internet, will contaminate future jury pools."

Lioi also put the kibosh on prosecutors releasing video of Dimora at the gambling table during his 2008 trip to Las Vegas with former County Auditor Frank Russo and others.

Same goes for the video of businessman Ferris Kleem hiring a prostitute for Dimora as a bribe to gain his influence.

Lioi did order a number of other exhibits released, including photos of Dimora, co-defendant Michael Gabor, and any conspirators who have entered plea agreements.  

Lioi, however, specifically said that three photos -- identified only as exhibit numbers 175, 469 and 471 -- must be kept secret. Photo No. 169 is a picture of Dimora, Russo and Gabor at a pool at Dimora's Independence home. Nos. 469 and 471 are pictures of Dimora and Gabor at the Bare Pool in Vegas.

"These three photographs would add little to public knowledge of the case and could be subject to misuse," Lioi said.

Prosecutors can also release photos of Dimora's home, like the improvements to his in-ground pool area and appliances that contractors installed for free or at little cost as bribes.

Other releasable exhibits include government records, private business records and financial documents, as long as prosecutors redact sensitive personal data.

In the order, Lioi said she weighed a number of factors when deciding which of the 1,200 exhibits admitted at trial should be released to the media.

Those factors include pending appeals by Dimora and Gabor in the trial that just concluded, as well as the tainting of the jury in Dimora's second trial.

The court is "loathe to release any exhibits at this time that might make it more difficult to ensure that Dimora's due process right to a fair and unbiased jury is preserved" in the second trial, Lioi noted.

Lioi was also worried about the pending cases involving other defendants in the county-wide corruption probe, as well as the privacy rights of other uninvolved third parties.

Prosecutors have  three days to list all exhibits it believes meets the criteria outlined in the order. Each defendant then has three days to file any objection.

WKYC-TV

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