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Courts and Crime

Russo on corruption: 'It would never stop'
Former Cuyahoga auditor tesitifes in Dimora trial that  bribes and payoffs were 'part of our life'

Mark Urycki
In The Region:

The star witness in the case against former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora testified today that without FBI raids, there would have been no stopping the spreading corruption. 

Prosecutors finished their direct questioning of Dimora ally and former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo, and defense attorneys began cross examining him mid-morning. 

Russo testified that the mood was somber among the inner circle after one of them, Steve Pumper, was questioned by the FBI in 2008. They were meeting at the Yours Truly Restaurant in Independence. But they still thought they were safe. 

Russo also described the morning of July 28, 2008, when the FBI came knocking at his door with search warrants. He said he wasn't sure how extensive the raid was until two hours later, when he was sitting on his patio and saw news helicopters hovering overhead.  

The final question from prosecuting attorney Antoinette Bacon was: "If the searches had never happened, would the conduct of accepting values for favors stop?”

To which Russo responded: “It would never stop. It continued to grow and grow. … It was part of our life. … We created it." 

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