Convicted former Cuyahoga Co. judge Bridget McCafferty released early to Cleveland halfway house

CLEVELAND - NewsChannel5 investigators have uncovered former Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Bridget McCafferty has been living in a halfway house in Cleveland since June.

McCafferty was released to Oriana House after serving nine months of a 14-month prison sentence in an Alderson, West Virginia, prison.

McCafferty was sentenced last August after being convicted of 10 charges involving lying to FBI agents about conversations she had with former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo.

The decision by officials at the Federal Bureau of Prisons to release McCafferty before her sentence was completed is not unusual, according to Cleveland attorney Avery Friedman.

"The fact that it's non-violent crime, first offense. She's served most of her sentence and, frankly, I think the federal district judge did exactly the right thing," said Friedman.

Friedman said McCafferty's early release does not indicate other officials convicted in the Cuyahoga County corruption scandal will be released early from prison, especially in the case of Jimmy Dimora. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison July 31.

"I think it's apple and oranges. (There was) absolutely no remorse whatever, unlike in the McCafferty case, so I think to compare one with the other really wouldn't be fair,  wouldn't be accurate," he said.

Friedman also told NewsChannel5 McCafferty is unlikely to end up back in prison as a result of recent charges from a July 18 traffic stop on I-90E in Cleveland. McCafferty pleaded not guilty to reckless operation and slow speed Aug. 1. Both violations are misdemeanors.

"The likelihood of Ms. McCafferty going back to the federal penitentiary is, I think, a virtual impossibility," he said.

McCafferty's trial for the traffic charges is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Thursday.

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