AKRON, Ohio - Cleveland Council President Martin Sweeney was mentioned in FBI wiretaps played today during the sentencing hearing for corruption defendant Michael Forlani.
Sweeney has never been accused of wrongdoing or charged with a crime in the ongoing investigation, but his name was mentioned in a phone conversation between Forlani and an associate who were discussing raising money for Sweeney's election campaign.
On the tape, the men can be heard discussing raising funds for Sweeney's Council Fund and at one point, one voice is heard saying "money cures a lot of evil" and later "it can get a lot of votes when you need them."
Forlani's defense attorney pointed out that there has been no evidence ever suggesting that Forlani attempted to bribe Sweeney in return for contracts.
Tuesday's sentencing hearing largely involved computing the value of bribes offered by Forlani in regard to former County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora.
Prosecutors supplied evidence that Forlani provided $35,578.44 for vehicles either purchased, serviced or rented by Dimora.
In earlier developments, an FBI agent Tuesday described $40,000 in home improvements performed at the home of former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora by a company-owned by corruption defendant Michael Forlani.
The testimony came during a sentencing hearing for Forlani that could result in eight years in federal prison after Forlani pled gullty to 13 corruption related crimes.
In court Tuesday morning, Forlani agreed to forfeit $900,000 to the government in connection with his bribery schemes.
Forlani appeared upbeat throughout the hearing, smiling and at one point point confided to NewsChannel5 that "things in life could be much more devastating," referencing the recent school shooting in Connecticut.
Federal prosecutors could call as many as 16 witnesses to describe how they received bribes in return for helping Forlani's former company, Doan Pyramid Electric, to obtain lucrative contracts.
Former Cleveland Councilwoman Sabra Pierce Scott is expected to testify Wednesday about a project she helped Forlani obtain in her ward.
Pierce Scott pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
Forlani's sentencing hearing will continue Wednesday.