Wiretap recordings from Bridget McCafferty's corruption trial released

CLEVELAND - Wiretap recordings played as evidence during the corruption trial for former Cuyahoga County judge Bridget McCafferty were obtained by NewsChannel5 on Wednesday.

McCafferty was convicted of 10 counts of lying to federal investigators on Friday after a 5-day trial in Akron.

Prosecutors said the eight recordings helped prove McCafferty lied to FBI agents during an interview at her home on Sept. 23, 2008. She insisted she was not influenced by former County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and former County Auditor Frank Russo regarding cases in her courtroom, but prosecutors said otherwise.

The opening statements of the trial revealed details about a "wire room" at the FBI headquarters in Cleveland. Starting on Dec. 5, 2007, a team of agents monitored cell phone calls between Dimora, Russo and Steve Pumper (head of a local construction firm who was also indicted in the corruption investigation) around the clock.

Below are the recordings and transcriptions of the calls:

McCafferty leaving Russo voicemail (:35)
McCafferty: “Hey Frank. It’s Bridget. Listen I don’t know everything going on, but I know Joe was in my courtroom today. I actually put him in my chambers and closed the door, so you could speak to him privately and just kinda stayed out in the hall and hung with Newman till he was done. We were gonna be in trial today, but I didn’t call a jury and I continued it til Tuesday, this way Joe could be available to you to work on what you need. I didn’t wanna pry, so I didn’t really ask, but I also wanted to tell you that The Plain Dealer is dead wrong. You do a great job. They just can’t stand the fact, the voters love you. So I just want you to know that.”

McCafferty speaking with Russo (:30)
McCafferty: Now they have to acknowledge that it’s really almost… There’s so many positive aspects to the article.
Russo: Yeah, so, I’m happy with it, I really am. Considering what it could have been, I’m very happy with it.
McCafferty: It establishes you as the preeminent political person to go to, when someone wants to run for office.
Russo: Yeah, but you know what. I’m 58 Bridge. I’m tired now. But I’m gonna go one more term, then I’ll be 62 and I’ll be out. You know what I mean?
McCafferty: Well good, cuz you guys gotta run when I run. I don’t wanna be out there alone.
Russo: Oh absolutely. Absolutely. I’m gonna run one more time.

McCafferty speaking with Russo (4:00)
Russo: Hello?
McCafferty: Hey Frank. Bridget McCafferty. How are ya?
Russo: Oh good judge. How are you?
McCafferty: Good. Hey I’m out of the office today, because I had to have an epidural block performed.
Russo: Oh, you okay?
McCafferty: Yeah, I just had some pain going up and down my arm.
Russo: One of the ladies at work here. I just saw her this morning. I said how you feeling? You’re not walking good. She goes, I’m going for an epidural shot tomorrow. She just told me that this morning. You know that crazy Gracie?
McCafferty: Yeah.
Russo: Yeah. Her. She’s going tomorrow for one. It’s funny, you went for one today. She said it helps her out a lot. She goes like every 3 or 4 months I think she said.
McCafferty: I’ve never had any issues or problems before. About 2 weeks ago, it really hit me. I couldn’t lift my arm and stuff. So I thought, let me go in for this shot and everything, cuz you know, we’ve gotta be good. We gotta be out on the road and healthy and smiling. Haha.
Russo: Exactly… You work too hard though. You work too hard.
McCafferty: Haha… I don’t know about that.
Russo: At the office. Yes you are.Your docket Bridge, you… You know what, I’m so proud of you that your docket’s so good over there. It means a lot to a lot of people. It really does. It shows, hey, we all got behind you, we all have confidence in you, but look what you’re doing now… Really. You keep such a good docket over there that everybody’s proud to help you. They really are. I’ve heard that from many people.
McCafferty: Oh, I appreciate that. That makes me feel better.
Russo: You run when Jimmy and I run in 10?
McCafferty: Yep.
Russo: That’s gonna be our last hurrah. Well, I don’t know about Jimmy, but I’m running one more time. He keeps saying he’s not, but what is he gonna do? He’s 52 years old.
McCafferty: He’s not gonna want to run if you’re not around… If you’re not out there with him.
Russo: We’re gonna be out there. I mean, I’m running for sure. You’re running for sure. He’s hem hawing. Ya know. I says Jimmy, what are you gonna do? Retire? You’ll be 54. You’ll be retired? You know what I mean?
McCafferty: No, he has too much energy and too many things he wants to accomplish.
Russo: Did you go to that union luncheon today?
McCafferty: No I didn’t because I took the day off.
Russo: Okay. Umm…
McCafferty: So what happens is, the case comes off my docket until he finishes his bankruptcy. I was going to. I set the settlement conference for tomorrow. And I was going to have my staff get them prepped and ready and then I was gonna do another date next Wednesday, when I was in, and finish the case up. But now I can’t because of this day.
Russo: Okay. So who filed the bankruptcy order? The other party?
McCafferty: The other side. The defense.
Russo: When they do that, then you get the court records, there’s no choice. Your hands are tied.
McCafferty: That’s right. So it’ll come off the docket. And then what happens is, the bankruptcy court proceeding gets monitored. And then as soon as the guy is done with bankruptcy, the plaintiff ____ attorney will file a motion to reinstate it on the docket.
Russo: Right at your place again?
McCafferty: Yeah. He’ll be on the creditor’s list, cuz there’s a pending lawsuit. So he may get paid through bankruptcy or the guy may jack around and wait.
Russo: All right. I’m so glad you called and let me know what’s going on. Thank you so much Bridge. Thank you.
McCafferty: My staff attorney lives in Rocky River so I was gonna have her come out tonight with the file. You know, stop by my house, so that I could write some notes down, and make sure that everybody got the attention they deserved.
Russo: So they filed bankruptcy? All right then. So they’re pretty shrewd to do that, huh?
McCafferty: Yeah. It’d kinda cagey frankly. You know, I’m facing a lawsuit. Oh gee, now all of a sudden I’m bankrupt. Ya know? Unless the reality is that they are bankrupt. But, sometimes people do it to play games.
Russo: There’s nothing you could do. Your hands are tied now.
McCafferty: Right. So…
Russo: I understand very thoroughly.
McCafferty: But as soon as it gets reinstated, I’ll make sure that I set it for a hearing that gets some personal attention.
Russo: Okay great. You’re one in a million.
McCafferty: I had my eye on the file for ya. I just wanted to make sure you knew.
Russo: Okay thank you so much. And feel better. Relax for a couple days. Okay.
McCafferty: Okay. Will do. Take care.
Russo: See you next week. Okay thanks. Bye.

Dimora speaking with Pumper (:45)
Pumper: Yo.
Dimora: Steven. Jimmy Dimora.
Pumper: What’s goin on baby?
Dimora: What are you doin?
Pumper: Uh. Heading downtown.
Dimora: Hey listen. When you get a chance, can you get me that book?
Pumper: I got it in my car.
Dimora: And I wanna talk to you. I had a nice talk with Bridget.
Pumper: Oh okay.
Dimora: Let you know what’s goin on with that.
Pumper: Okay that’s great.
Dimora: I’m at home all day today. If you come back this way. Or tomorrow morning. I’ll be home in the morning. Then I’m goin to La Peeps at 9:30. I gotta meet with Vince Russo.
Pumper: I’ll stop over around 2, 2:30 today.
Dimora: Perfect.
Pumper: See ya babe.
Dimora: I’m here. Bye.
Pumper: Bye.

Dimora speaking with operator/receptionist? (:40)
Dimora: What else?
Operator/Receptionist?: That’s it.
Dimora: Okay, I need to talk to a Jim Newman. He’s Judge Bridget McCafferty’s bailiff. And I need him connect to my cell phone.
Operator/Receptionist?: And he’s who sir?
Dimora: Judge Bridget McCafferty. Common Pleas Court.
Operator/Receptionist?: Bridget McCafferty. Okay.
Dimora: Jimmy Newman. With an n-e-w-m-a-n.
Operator/Receptionist?: N. Okay. Newman.
Dimora: Jim’s his first name. He’s the bailiff.
Operator/Receptionist?: Oh okay. And connect you to your cell phone?
Dimora: Yeah. I’m not at home, so it’s gotta come to my cell.
Operator/Receptionist?: All right.
Dimora: Okay?
Operator/Receptionist?: I will do that right now sir.
Dimora: Thank you.
Operator/Receptionist?: You’re welcome.

Dimora speaking with Pumper (1:45)
Pumper: Yo.
Dimora: Cock.
Pumper: Cock. What’s goin on?
Dimora: Listen, Jimmy Newman’s gonna call you from Judge McCafferty’s office.
Pumper: Yeah.
Dimora: He’s the bailiff. He’s gonna talk to you about this subcontractor issue and get the particulars to talk to their staff attorney to try to get the thing worked out for you.
Pumper: Okay good.
Dimora: I told him I think the other issue is okay, but I said if it’s not when he calls you, you can talk to him about that too.
Pumper: Okay sounds good.
Dimora: This is her personal bailiff.
Pumper: Jimmy Newman.
Dimora: Jim Newman. He’s Marty Vitardi’s nephew.
Pumper: Gotcha.
Dimora: You know Marty Vitardi from Parma. This is his nephew. His brother’s kid. Okay? I gave him your cell phone.
Pumper: How’d you guys do last night?
Dimora: I did good!
Pumper: Did you? Did you have enough guys?
Dimora: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We have seven the whole night.
Pumper: Okay good.
Dimora: Cuz when Rob left, Jerry came. And then Gabor came.
Pumper: Gotcha. Gotcha.
Dimora: So yeah. It worked out fine. We played until 1 o’clock.
Pumper: Ferlani?
Dimora: Ferlani. Kevin. Frank. Jerry. Gabor. Me.
Pumper: Nice.
Dimora: Uh Joe Baylock came too
Pumper: Okay baby.
Dimora: All right.
Pumper: Appreciate thanks.
Dimora: Let me know what’s shakin after you talk to him, if there’s something more we need to do, or I need to talk to somebody. You know what I mean? After you get the conversation and opinion back.
Pumper: Okay sounds good. Appreciate it.
Dimora: Okay. I’ll talk to ya.
Pumper: See ya. Bye.

Newman leaving Pumper voicemail (:40)
Newman: Steve. Jim Newman. Judge Bridget McCafferty’s bailiff. Calling you. I got a message from the commissioner that you had some questions for us. Give us a call back. 443-8707. It’s goin on 4:30. We might be leaving the office here in a couple minutes. So if you call back, leave us a message. If not, I have your cell phone number. We’ll be in tomorrow morning. 8:30 to 4:30. Myself, the judge and our staff attorney, we can answer any questions you have about the DAS case. Umm, give us a call back, or I will call you in the morning Steve. Thanks. Bye.

McCafferty talking with Pumper (1:00)
Pumper: How may I help you?
McCafferty: Mr. Pumper?
Pumper: Yes.
McCafferty: Bridget McCafferty
Pumper: Hey Bridget. How are you?
McCafferty: I know it’s more than you wanted to pay, but I hope you can live with it.
Pumper: You know what, I mean, we’re gonna spend our $20-30,000 getting this thing done anyhow.
McCafferty: Yeah. I was trying to get it out at $175,000, but I couldn’t get it done.
Pumper: Yeah I know. Listen. That’s okay. You did a great job. So, I appreciate that.
McCafferty: I told him, your attorney, listen I don’t want Steve throwin a beer on me next time I see him… Or that Shawn guy, for that matter.
Pumper: We’ll have plenty of cocktails together.
McCafferty: Well good. I thought if I could just get the thing done for you and get it out of your life.
Pumper: Yeah, it worked out well, so we’ll get this thing put to bed.
McCafferty: All right. Well hopefully you can live with it.
Pumper: Yeah. No, not a problem. When you gonna be out again?
McCafferty: Oh who knows. Haha. I’m sure I’ll see you soon.
Pumper: Next fundraiser.
McCafferty: Yeah.
Pumper: All right. Thanks judge.
McCafferty: Have a good weekend. Take care.
Pumper: You too. Bye.

McCafferty is currently free on bond. Her sentencing is set for June 2.

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