Jimmy Dimora sentencing: Hearing stretches into second day

4:06 PM, Jul 30, 2012   |    comments
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AKRON -- The forfeiture and sentencing hearing for former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora has concluded for Monday.

Here a look at the developments in the hearing.  Court will resume on Tuesday morning.

5:52 p.m. Lioi adjourned the hearing for the day and court resumes at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning.

5:47 p.m. Lisa Dimora said the most memories she had was from the father-daughter dances and that her father gave her the best advice. She said the extended family came to their house a lot, both in Bedford Heights and in Independence. He cared and supported his wife Lori and cared and supported his family. She said she has never seen her father degrade her mother and always remmebered birthdays and anniversaries.

5:41 p.m. Next witness on the stand is Lisa Dimora, his daughter. She said she is the worst clarinet player ever but her father still came and supported her at her concerts. Said her father came to all the sporting events and also helped out at After-Prom when his children were in high school.

5:33 p.m. Andrew Getner, a police officer for Cleveland and North Randall police departments, took the stand wearing slacks and a greenish polo shirt. He said he's been childhood friends with Dimora. He said he has never heard a bad word ever said about Dimora. If your  basement was flooded, Dimora would help out. If your child was sick, he would go visit the child. Getner says that people thought Dimora was "the greatest guy they've ever met."

Getner said Dimora attended funerals of relatives of his citizens.

5:24 p.m. Character witness John Teron, who lives next door to Dimora on Forestwood Drive in Independence, is a carpenter. Teron is the father of three children and he moved to the Forestwood Drive neighborhood a few years before Dimora did. He said his family and the Dimoras went to each others' parties, they were good neighbors. He said that in 2000, when he was in Honduras for Christmas and New Year's, the Dimoras invited the Terons over for the holiday meals.

5:17 p.m. Dimora's attorneys brought in William J. Day, an attorney who says he has known Dimora for 23 years. Day said that when he ran for judge, Dimora helped him with the campaign. Day's son has disabilities and Dimora helped him get jobs with the county. He was asked if his son Rob was still employed by Cuyahoga County. Day said no. "The new regime has slaughtered thousands of employees," Day said.

5:14 p.m. Saunders said he often saw Dimora with his wife Lori and his children a lot of the time. Saunders said Dimora established the Bedford Heights Home Days.

5:07 p.m. Saunders said Dimora started numerous programs for senior citizens, the Seniors-Plus program, got the city to build playgrounds and ballfields, and the main recreation center was built under Dimora. Saunders said Dimora had to fight council because the council didn't want to spend the money at that time.

5:01 p.m. Philip Saunders, president of Bedford Heights City Council, is on the witness stand, testifying on behalf of Dimora. Says Dimora helped ease racial tensions, had a true love for senior citizens, helped upgrade or actually build recreation centers in the city. Said that Dimora got both blacks and whites togther and made them work together for the betterment of the city and its citizens.

5 p.m. Judge Lioi is ruling on the final figures for the several issues brought up today to see how much Jimmy Dimora will be liable for in this forfeiture hearing. Lioi said that there are some people whom the defense wants to call for witnesses right now. Then, Lioi said she will adjourn for the evening and resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday. 

4:50 p.m. Court and attorneys are now discussing the Michael Gabor divorce and how Dimora suggested that Gabor talk to J. Kevin Kelley for help and Gabor paid $10,000 to Kelley to bribe the judge in the case, all done through Mark Dottore. Court says that the Dimora was involved.

4:36 p.m. U.S. Attorney Antoinette Bacon said that Dimora knew about the scheme by Frank Russo to have a sham candidate Joe Gallucci run against Russo for Auditor, and then Russo hired Gallucci in his department and that Dimora, as commissioner, did not vote against Russo's annual budget at any time once he knew that Russo had been bribing Gallucci to run against him.

4:18 p.m. Court finds that, through no fault of the government, the amounts in the phone call were not substantiated as to who would be paid what for GreenSource so the court rules that it will move on through this issue

4:10 p.m. Listening to a phone call between former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo and Jimmy Dimora discussing how GreenSource can become the supplier for some insulation product for the new Cuyahoga County Juvenile Justice Center. U.S. Attorney Antoinette Bacon said Pumper didn't have an ownership stake in GreenSource because of his impending divorce.

4:06 p.m. Judge Lioi is asking for more clarification on the GreenSource profits as they relate to money to be attributed to Jimmy Dimora as part of the corruption scheme. Steve Pumper was not an employee of GreenSource.

4:02 p.m. Judge Lioi asked for a sidebar conference with attorneys from both sides, then they are playing one of the phone calls from the trial regarding Steve Pumper's property between Dimora and Pumper.

3:45 p.m. Court took an afternoon break and is resuming at about 3:55 p.m.

2:46 p.m.: Judge Sara Lioi and U.S. Attorney Antoinette Bacon are reconciling their respective lists of bribes, like the cost of hotel room at the Mirage, the cost of a prostitute,  the cost of dinners in Las Vegas, $6,000 in cash to Frank Russo for Las Vegas, $1,000 worth of gaming chips for co-defendant Michael Gabor and other items.

2:07 p.m.: Watching from the courtroom gallery or from the media room during the Dimora trial, the view we all had was from the back of the courtroom and was a static camera. In this instance, our plasma screen is utilizing all of the courtroom cameras and we usually have a view from the witness stand back into the courtroom. We are now seeing all the attormeys and Dimora from the front and are able to see expressions on their faces. The reason we had the different, static view during the trial was so we would not be able to see the jury unless we were actually in the courtroom. There is no jury in the courtroom for this hearing.

2 p.m.: As this session continues, Jimmy Dimora has been writing almost non-stop since Judge Sara Lioi returned to the courtroom. He has turned around once to look at his wife Lori sitting in the gallery. It appears that nearly every person who was in the courtroom this morning has returned for the afternoon session. There are just a few empty seats in the gallery. Dimora's family and friends all returned for the afternoon session.

1:55 p.m.: Asked various courtroom players what they thought would be the time by when Judge Sara Lioi would pronounce the sentence and the consensus was that this will last until very late today, likely a sentence in the 5-6 p.m. time frame. That is not an official estimate, just a consensus of opinions from various people.

1:43 p.m.: Judge Sara Lioi has resumed the hearing for Jimmy Dimora  with Lioi asking U.S. Attorney Antoinette Bacon aout all the schemes and asked Bacon to focus on Alternatives Agency and defendant Robert Rybak. This is more about the forfeiture hearing that began this morning.

1:32 p.m.:Court is about to resume as Dimora's family and friends have already returned to the courtroom, as have the U.S. Attorneys, and most of the spectators. Dimora has also returned with his attorney Bill Whitaker. None of the courtroom personnel nor U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi have returned.

12:34 p.m.: Judge calls lunch break.  Court will resume at 1:34 p.m.

12:21 p.m.: Jimmy Dimora is now sitting sideways in his chair at the defense table, facing the center of the courtroom, and rubbing his face with his right hand, then leaning back in his chair with his arms crossed across his chest . Dimora also appears to be scratching a spot on his inner left elbow repeatedly during this hearing...audience members in the gallery have been fidgeting in thier seats, as many said during the earlier break that they thought the sentencing would take about an hour and didn't expect to have to listen to the arguments between the defense and the government regarding what Dimora will have to forfeit.

12:15 p.m.: U.S. Attorney Antoinette Bacon contends that a dinner at Delmonico's steak house in Independence was not set as a meeting for discussion of funding Alternatives Agency but just an excuse for "dinner at Delmonico's" where Dimora could get another free dinner on someone else's tab...Bacon said the full amount of the dinner should be considered as a part of the overall bribes....

12:10 p.m.: Defense attorney Andrea Whitaker is arguing that the amount of the contract for Alternatives Agency and how it involved Brian Schuman and J. Kevin Kelley should not be included in the "value received" by Jimmy Dimora as it relates to forfeiture. Now they say they may move on to the Coe Lake project. Judge Lioi has yet to call a break for lunch.

11:47 a.m.: Dimora looks very tired and just yawned twice as U.S. Attorney Antoinette Bacon continues to defend the higher dollar amount for what the sentence should reflect. The courtroom gallery audience mostly has blank looks on their faces at the two attorneys make detailed legal arguments, citing case law.

11:16 a.m.: Dimora is now sitting back in his chair and has just removed his glasses, rubbed his face, and replaced his glasses. He is now resting his on his right hand and folding his arms across his chest. Defense attorney Andrea Whitaker is objecting to other amounts ascribed to Dimora as having received. U.S. Attorney Antoinette Bacon says that Dimora asked for campaign contributions and similarly, asked for others items. 

11:04 a.m.: Defense attorney Andrea Whitaker continues to object to various amounts ascribed to the value of things in the amounts like the bribes, the cost of the prostitutes, the amounts of the limousine services (attributed to Dimora) and other amounts.

10:45 a.m.: Courtroom observers tell us hearing could take quite a while.

8 a.m. Dimora arrived in a wheelchair accompanied by a United States Marshal who was carrying a walker just after 8 a.m.

Other key players arrived shortly thereafter including Dimora's defense team. When asked about the sentencing Andrea Whitaker said she hoped the judge considered everything they put before her.

Dimora's family did not comment as they arrived and appeared somber according to court observers.

Original post/background: Dimora will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi.

Dimora, 57, of Independence was found guilty of 33 of 34 counts on March 9 and was immediately taken into federal custody. Weeks later, Lioi dismissed one of the counts as redundant so sentencing was on 32 counts.

Except for spending three days in St. Elizabeth Hospital in Youngstown following a fall, he has been in the Northeast Ohio Correctional Institution since then.

U.S. Attorneys have asked for a sentence "in excess of 22 years." The U.S. Probation Service has recommended a life sentence. Dimora's attorneys, the father-daughter team of Bill and Andrea Whitaker, have asked for "far below" the 22 years.

Dimora served as the Cuyahoga County Commissiner until December 2010, after being elected in November 1998. He also served as the chairman of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party.

He started his political career as a Bedford Heights City Councilman for several years and then was elected mayor.

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