Dimora trial prosecutor: "He's king of the county"

2:55 AM, Mar 1, 2012   |    comments
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AKRON -- Federal prosecutors delivered their closing argument Wednesday, resting just before noon after 2 hours and 40 minutes.

This is in the Cuyahoga County corruption trial of former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and former county auditor's employee Michael Gabor.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Antoinette Bacon began delivering the closing argument for the prosecution at 8:45 a.m. and ended just before noon, with one 15-minute break.

In the first two hours of her closing argument, Bacon referred to Dimora's power and control over Cuyahoga County as "This is a sitting Cuyahoga County Commissioner, he's king of the county."

In the first minute, Bacon wasted no time in linking Dimora and co-defendant Gabor in her closing argument.

"The citizens of Cuyahoga County expected......that public officials would be public servants...Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo broke that trust..." Bacon began.

"To them, public service was self-service...they operated in secret...with people who were loyal...people who could keep a secret...people like Michael Gabor..." she said.

Bacon continued "Michael Gabor kept the secret..in a world where they bought and sold jobs...got trips..."

"It proves that Michael Gabor is guilty...it proves that Jimmy Dimora is guilty...for they traded their office for things of value. The law defines things of value as...money...service...a tangible item, like a TV...intangible items, like a limo ride or an airplane ticket..." she argued.

Bacon told the jury that, in their jury instructions folder, the counts against Dimora and Gabor are "grouped by 'who's buying.'"

She detailed each one and pointed out that sometimes the counts extended to several communities.

Bacon said that Count 9, a conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, was when Dimora was using his position as county commissioner to ask for and accept sexual favors from Gina Meuti-Coppers, who was looking for a job.

Coppers, now divorced, is the daughter of the late Bedford Heights Police Chief Dominic Meuti, who was police chief when Dimora was mayor.

"...Dimora knowingly participated in a scheme to defraud Cuyahoga County, Bedford, Solon or OPERS to obtain money and property.....there were many secrets about this, and he was keeping it quiet..." Bacon said.

"After Dimora and Coppers were at Shula's (Steakhouse 2 in Independence), before the Holiday Inn, Dimora called (Bedford Clerk of Court) Tom Day and said 'I haven't even talked to Gina yet' when he clearly had..because they had just met at Shula's and talked about the job..." Bacon said.

"These are things of value...personal services on two occasions...the Holiday Inn room that Gina paid for...approximately $100 for the room...." Bacon continued.

"these are personal services from Coppers...the fact is, it had value to Commissioner Dimora....before whether Dimora had others pay $300 or $1000 for the services of a prostitute...that day, he did not have to pay....." Bacon said.

Dimora was "...convincing Tom Day to create a job for her....a job that didn't exist, a job that wasn't posted...she was making almost double than what the person who had the job before, Andrew Mizsak, did..."

Regarding another count where Salva Stone and John Valentin gave things of value, like granite countertops, to Dimora, Bacon said Dimora..."even had granite outside, outside in Cleveland.....and Valentin said 'I believed that if I could make a favor for Commissioner Dimora, he could make a favor for me....'"

"Frank Russo is heard telling Dimora that Valentin was reasonable. Reasonable? For all that granite that Russo got, he didn't even pay a dime..." Bacon explained.

Just before 1 p.m., Jimmy Dimora's defense attorneys, both Andrea and Bill Whitaker, began delivering their closing argument.

Read all charges and watch video

Starting at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, expect Gabor's attorney Leif Christman to deliver his closing argument, followed by the government's rebuttal.

We expect the jury to get the the case for deliberation sometime Thursday afternoon or first-thing Friday morning.

How long the jury will take in its deliberations is anyone's guess.

Stay with Channel 3, wkyc.com and follow wkyc on Twitter @wkyc for the latest updates. WKYC will bring you the verdict as soon as it comes down. 

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