CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Jimmy Dimora’s attorneys have finally succeeded in getting another shot at lowering his 28-year sentence.
In March, they will be able to argue to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
His claim is that important evidence was not allowed at trial and that a new definition of an “official act” means that he did nothing wrong in voting on contracts for those who gave him gifts.
Dimora has always maintained that a list of donor names on his Ohio Ethics Commission disclosure form satisfied his requirement to report gifts.
He responded angrily when asked about it by a 19 News reporter in 2010, saying, “Do some checking, you’re an investigative reporter. Check it out.”
The flaw in that is the form doesn’t make any distinction between someone who gave him a $50 campaign contribution and contractors who built him a patio, outdoor kitchen and tens of thousands of dollars for a retaining wall.
Judge Sara Lioi at trial refused to allow the form, citing the fact it was too vague.
On a first appeal a year ago, Lioi denied the appeal.
Now, the Ohio Court of Appeals says it will listen to his argument.
Federal prosecutors from Cleveland will go to Cincinnati to oppose Dimora’s claims. They also take issue with his claim that a recent ruling in a similar case in Maryland on the definition of official acts for friends or contributors applies to Dimora.
An example, Ferris Kleem, who later got county contracts Dimora voted to approve payed for a frolic in Vegas, piling chips on Jimmy’s stack at a casino, and getting him the name of an escort.
“Was that the best or what? Yeah. A little chatty,” was a comment the FBI captured on Dimora’s hotel phone the next morning.
Former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell was convicted of crimes less flamboyant than Dimora’s. The Supreme Court narrowed the definition of official acts and seven of his 10 convictions were overturned.
If Dimora prevails and some of his convictions are thrown out, it could mean far less prison time.
Here’s why: Dimora’s basic offense level on federal sentencing guidelines was 14, only a year-and-a-half sentence.
But because of the amount of loss, it doubled to a level 28: seven or eight years.
If some of those can be overcome, his sentence will drop significantly.