Plea change for corruption figure could launch prison term for former auditor Frank Russo

Top Russo aide expected to plead guilty

CLEVELAND - A change of plea involving a top aide to former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo could trigger the 22-year prison sentence for Russo to begin after months of freedom.

Documents filed in federal court reveal that Russo aide Samir Mohammad has requested a hearing to change his plea on corruption charges. Mohammad's trial was scheduled to begin next week.

Sources say that could finally result in Russo being sent to prison after spending the last two years a free man, while testifying against other key corruption figures.

Prosecutors requested that Russo remain free on bond while the trial of former county commissioner Jimmy Dimora and others wound its way through the courts.

Mohammad is the last of nearly 50 defendants who have either pleaded guilty or been convicted on corruption charges.

A change of plea hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 15 at 8 a.m. in federal court.

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