AKRON, Ohio - After less than a day of deliberations, a federal jury found former Cuyahoga County judge Bridget McCafferty guilty on all 10 counts late Friday afternoon.
Both the prosecution and defense presented closing arguments Friday morning. Each side talked for about an hour. Then the jury deliberated for four hours.
McCafferty was charged with lying to FBI agents during an interview at her home on Sept. 23, 2008. Prosecutors said she was influenced by former County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora or former County Auditor Frank Russo regarding cases in her courtroom. Russo even took the stand during the trial.
Jurors listened to eight wiretaps during the trial. On one, Dimora can be heard bragging that he "has a nice talk with Bridget," where he was referencing a friend's case in McCafferty's courtroom. The friend Dimora is referring to is former DAS Construction president Steve Pumper, who has already pleaded guilty to corruption-related charges.
McCafferty denied those accusations, saying she told the agents the truth. Her attorney said that they are disappointed with the verdict and that they plan to appeal the ruling.
The jury broke for lunch at about 1 p.m. but returned about an hour later for further deliberations.
When she was a common pleas judge indictted for lying to the FBI, McCafferty boldly proclaimed her innocence.
"I answered all their questions in a manner that I believe to be truthful," said McCafferty.
As she walked out of court a guilty woman, there was a stark changed in her judicial demeanor. Perhaps more than anyone, McCafferty knows its best not to upset the judge who will soon hand down her sentence.
"I have to wait until after June 2nd on the advice of counsel. But thank you for your interest," she told reporters seeking comment after the verdict.
Michael Ungar, the head of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Associaton said McCafferty's conviction could have an impact on how judge's are elected in the future. There is a movement underway by the cheif justice of the Ohio Supreme Court to make judicial races non-partisan.
"It shouldn't matter party you are from when you are talking about being a judge," Ungar said.
McCafferty is currently free on bond and her sentencing is set for June 2.