CLEVELAND - Former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora is blaming "legal errors" for his 28-year prison sentence and is asking a federal appeals court to throw out his conviction on multiple corruption charges.
Dimora's attorneys filed a massive 78-page appeal Saturday with the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Last week, Cleveland attorney Christian J. Grostic asked the appeals court for permission to "expand" his opening legal brief beyond the 30-pages originally permitted in order "to adequately present the errors."
Chief among the arguments is Dimora's complaint that he was prevented from "introducing key exculpatory evidence" and the government was "permitted to mislead the jury regarding whether Dimora had concealed his receipt of the alleged bribes".
Dimora was not permitted to enter into evidence Ohio Ethics Commission filings that he says would show a long list of gifts he had received.
In addition, Dimora argues that prior to the start of his criminal trial, the court ruled that he could introduce ethics report filing, but that ruling was changed when the actual trial began.
Dimora is also asking the appeals court to decide if the trial court was in error when it "refused to give requested jury instructions that explained the difference between bribery and lobbying, as well as the "limits on what constitutes an official act".
The appeal insists that Dimora had no criminal intent and excluding evidence that could have supported that unfairly led to his conviction.
Dimora is requesting that the appeals court reverse his conviction as well as a new trial.
In the appeal filed Saturday, Dimora's lawyers pointed out that Russo admitted taking over $1 million in bribes unrelated to Dimora and asks if the district court "erred by excluding Russo's ethics reports as irrelevant where they showed that, unlike Dimora, Russo never disclosed receiving anything of value.
Dimora was convicted in March 2012 and is currently incarcerated in a federal prison at the Gilmer Federal Correctional Institution in Glenville, W.Va.