WKYC has the story. Russo delivered his letter of resignation to the lame-duck County Commissioners this morning and returned the county vehicle he had in his possession as County Auditor as a Bill of Information listing 21 counts of corruption are filed in federal court.
A Bill of Information is a process in which a party can be charged with a felony in lieu of being indicted by a Grand Jury. It requires the cooperation of the Defendant to waive their right to be indicted by a grand jury. Therefore, a Bill in lieu of an Indictment is a major tipoff that the charges are the result of a plea deal.
According to WKYC, though, Russo’s attorney has indicated that Russo has asked for consideration be given to his son, who has already been indicted by a federal grand jury, in return for his guilty plea.
I’m not aware of anyone agreeing to do a Bill of Information that did not also involve a guilty plea. There will be no trial of Frank Russo.
One of the more interesting charges?
“Russo gave Joseph Gallucci a job and cash in exchange for running a sham campaign against him.”
The Plain Dealer reports that the deal does not require Russo to cooperate or testify against former Cuyahoga Democratic Party Chairman Jimmy Dimora, who defiantly (and stupidly) dared the federal government to indict him already if they thought they had such a strong case against him (ask Jim Traficant how such bravado plays out.)
Jimmy Dimora should do what his fellow county commissioners, the new Chair of the Cuyahoga Democratic Party, Governor Strickland, and countless others have publicly urged him to do and resign.
I cannot believe that today’s development can mean anything other than an indictment against Dimora is imminent. Whether or not it’s part of the plea deal, Dimora should know that Russo won’t be sentenced until Dimora’s situation is resolved. Russo’s lawyers will show him that under the federal sentencing guidelines, his best bet to get the minimum amount of time is to cooperate with the prosecution of Dimora.
I don’t think it’s really as much of a question whether Russo will cooperate. It’s probably already privately happened. Even if I’m wrong, it’s only a matter of time. Russo is staring down 21 counts of federal bribery charges that he’ll have pled guilty to. That kind of reality gets people to re-evaluate their loyalty to people who aren’t family. He has no public office to hold onto. It’s mitigation time.
Frank Russo is going to squeal. It’s only a matter of when.
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