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Government and Politics

Russo pleads on all charges
Former Cuyahoga ounty auditor facing 22 years in prison

Kevin Niedermier


Former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo will likely be going to prison for nearly 22 years, but he won’t start that sentence until next May.
The long-time Cuyahoga County politician  pleaded guilty this afternoon (Thursday) to 21 counts of corruption in U. S. District Court in Cleveland.  He’ll be formally sentenced in December, but some of the terms of the sentence were outlined today:
He’s to spend 21 years and 10 months in prison beginning in May and to forfeit his public pension and left-over campaign funds to make restitution.
His plea to the bribery, corruption and kickback charges is also contingent on immunity for others of his family, including his roommate, and on his son Vincent changing his plea from innocent  to guilty on a separate set of corruption charges.   Vincent Russo was a consultant who’s accused of steering county business to favored companies.
The older Russo also does not have to testify against any other defendants in the widespread corruption probe. Than includes Jimmy Dimora, the county commissioner who was indicted on 26 federal felonies yesterday.
Prosecutors are agreeing that the 60-year-old Russo should get  the extra time before reporting  to prison because he’ll be serving what is essentially a life sentence. He has diabetes and has grandchildren on the way and his lawyer says he needs time to get his affairs in order.
He’ll be free on 50-thousand dollars bond and is not allowed to travel outside Ohio.
On his way into court, Russo smiled and demurred when asked to comment. He did respond to the question of what he would tell the people of Cuyahoga County by saying, “They know I love them all.”
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