AKRON, Ohio – A federal judge denied former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora’s motions to delay his trial in the ongoing corruption investigation.
U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi made her ruling before Dimora was set to appear in her courtroom Friday afternoon. Lioi also ruled against consolidating Dimora’s two indictments into one trial.
New developments also surfaced during Friday’s hearing about Dimora’s defense. His team gave explicit details about their plans to defend him and Dimora’s plan to defend himself in his upcoming trial.
His attorneys told Judge Sara Lioi they don’t want a handful of words used in court: godfather, corrupt, commissioner, kickback and bribe.
Attorneys also said they want to cross examine witnesses who struck plea deals because, according to Dimora, they only pleaded guilty because they were threatened to be charged with other crimes.
The former Cuyahoga County commissioner is hoping to show the jury that the defendants who struck deals will benefit in return for testifying against him.
Dimora also thinks he should be able to tell the jury the good things he did as county commissioner that had nothing to do with an expectation of profiting for bribes or kickbacks.
Prosecutors said there will be 1,000 exhibits introduced at trial, along with 40,000 wire taps.
Questionnaires have been sent out to 700 potential jurors, asking them what they know about the case. About 166 will be called to court for the jury selection process on Jan. 4, 2012.
Dimora, who faces a laundry list of charges, is set to go to trial on Jan. 4 with co-defendant Michael Gabor.
Dimora was originally indicted in September 2010, but in March, federal prosecutors released a superseding indictment. The 149 page document includes bribery and racketeering charges against the former commissioner. It also indicted co-defendant electrical contractor Michael Forlani. He is the former President of Doan Pyramid, a large electrical contracting firm. Those charges will go to trial at a later date.
According to federal prosecutors, almost 60 people, including judge, public officials and contractors, have been indicted in this investigation.
Dimora has maintained his innocence, while several others have taken plea agreements.