Former Cuyahoga Judge McCafferty Convicted Of Lying To FBI On Case Fixing Investigation, Activists Want Criminal Cases Reopened

Submitted by JournalistKathy... on Sat, 03/26/2011 - 04:46.
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Former Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Bridget McCafferty. See to the right, a younger McCafferty at age 32 when she first was elected to the common pleas bench, one of the youngest ever elected.

Former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo
 
 
Former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora, also a former chair of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party

By Kathy Wray Coleman, Editor and Investigative Journalist of the Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.Com (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com)

A former Cuyahoga County common pleas court judge was found guilty earlier today of 10 counts of lying to the FBI in conjunction with a federal corruption probe of a host of Cuyahoga County officials, including former county commissioner Jimmy Dimora and former county auditor Frank Russo.

Federal prosecutors told jurors during trial and at closing arguments this week that Cuyahoga Judge Bridget McCafferty lied to FBI agents when they came snooping at her home on whether she was involved in alleged case fixing for the once popular and powerful duo.

Dimora stepped down in 2009 as chairperson of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party. He and Russo's jobs as commissioner and auditor were abolished in Jan after the voter adopted Issue 6 was implemented with a county executive and 11-member county council. They replace the three- member Board of Commissioners, and the elected positions of county engineer, treasurer, auditor, recorder, coroner, sheriff and clerk of courts, though Sheriff Bob Reid and Clerk of Courts Gerald Fuerst were retained for now earlier this month by county executive Ed Fitzgerald and the county council, all elected last year to take office in Jan.

Russo, out on bond until sentencing in May, pleaded guilty Sept 16 of last year to corruption related charges and testified against the judge, hoping to reduce his potential 21 year sentence. Dimora, who faces 26 counts of corruption related charges, has not yet been tried, and has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

McCafferty, 44, who was first elected to the bench at age 32 and lost a reelection bid in Nov. to now Republican Cuyahoga Judge Michael Astrab, smiled grimly as she left a federal district court in Akron after the jury verdict. She told reporters that she could not comment on the case due to the upcoming sentencing, and because of an upcoming appeal that her attorney has vowed to undertake.

"I was disappointed with the verdict and we plan to appeal," McCafferty attorney Michael Murray told reporters.

The disgraced former judge faces five years on each of the 10 counts of lying to investigators for a total of 50 potential years in prison. Federal guidelines, however, call for a substantial lesser term, which will be determined by Federal District Court Judge Sara Lioi at sentencing June 2.

McCafferty, who is credited with supporting Black causes like community oriented fundraiser's and campaign functions for Black office holders was, like Russo and Dimora, a one time rising star in the county's Democratic Party, at least until the FBI and IRS came knocking.

The embattled former judge did not take the stand during the five day trial where jurors deliberated for four hours before reaching a verdict. She is the seond person to be convicted of corruption related crimes as more than 45 people, including Russo, have pleaded guilty. The other is former Metro-Health Hospital construction manager Tom Greco.

The ruckus began when, on July 28, 2008, FBI and IRS agents raided the homes and offices of Dimora and Russo, and McCafferty's office was raided too, as were others. Her bailiff testified at trial that she seemed nervous about it, though activists say that FBI and IRS agents make most people nervous.

She remains out on bond until her sentencing, a gesture she so frequently afforded to others.

Russo, who testified that he still sees McCafferty as a friend, gave the most damning testimony, saying that at least four times a year he discussed case fixing activities with the judge, though from an indirect standpoint. He did testify though, that McCafferty took no bribes to his personal knowledge.

McCafferty's lawyers countered that Russo's damaging testimony was lies and told the jury that he had something to gain such as a reduced sentence for his corruption, and that the prosecution's case was flimsy and had at best revealed potential violations of the Ohio Judicial Code of Conduct and Lawyer's Professional Code of Responsibility, violations they said are routine of Ohio judges.

Reaction to the verdict in the Black community was mixed.

"I hated to see this because Judge McCafferty was always nice and personable," said Community Activist Ada Averyhart. "She was singled out unlike the other judges and the Republicans are behind this, which is why everybody prosecuted is a Democrat."

But some area criminal defense attorneys say McCafferty was personable off the bench, but hard on crime and hard on Blacks and other people while on it.

"Judge McCafferty was personable privately, but she was harsh and hard on defendants and would often give the maximum to first time offenders, many Black," said Cleveland Criminal Defense Attorney Wayne Kerek, a veteran lawyer of more than 25 years. "The judge started off sentencing people like a monster, but she toned down a little over the years."

Activists are now asking to know what the more than one thousand hours of FBI recordings reveal about McCaffterty and the 34 judges of the general division of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas and are questioning whether Blacks and others sent to prison by McCafftery should have their cases reopened for a review for potential case fixing.

Averyhart said that the Black community should stop sleeping and monitor judges more.

"We need a court watch," said Averyhart.

Dimora and McCafferty are also defendants in a lawsuit before Cuyahoga Judge Daniel Gaul that claims that they conspired to minimize damages for the defendants in a lawsuit brought by a company known as Letter Perfect Inc against D-A-S Construction that was before McCafferty.

Letter Perfect sued D-A-S over non-payment of $237 thousand in subtracted construction work for the Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Among other claims, the suit alleges that Dimora lobbied McCafferty to fix a settlement in the case to minimize damages of D-A-S, claims they both deny, and allegations that swarmed at McCafferty's trial, though the judge was accused only of numerous counts of lying to federal investigators

McCafferty's telephone conversations were secretly taped by FBI agents and some were played at trial, including conversations with Dimora and Russo, and a conversation with Steve Pumper, a former CEO of D-A-S who pleaded guilty after being charged with bribery, obstruction of official business and other related charges and is awaiting sentencing.

Pumper testified against the judge at trial as part of a plea bargain about her alleged manipulation of a lesser settlement of $190 thousand for Letter Perfect. FBI recordings played to the jury have McCafferty saying to Pumper, in an ex parte fashion, that she wished she could have done more, prompting him to respond, saying he would see her at her next fundraiser.

 

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Kathy...

very good reading your work...KEEP IT UP.

Thamks

Thanks

Poll results on Imperial Murders 3.29.2011

Kathy Wray-Coleman-Thank you for taking the time and putting up with the hysterics here.  You also post at your own site.  Please continue to link to it here.

http://www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com/2010/11/home-of-journalist-kathy-wray-coleman.html

Yes
 

69%

No
 

31%

Don't care
 

0%

Total Votes:

13

Comments: 0

Thank you

Thank you

Numbers don't lie. There

Numbers don't lie.

There were 150,000+ students in Cleveland schools in the late 1960s, 72,000 a decade ago, and now 44,000 (Plain Dealer, March 26, 2011). 

Are there any parents on this site?  What is going on there?  It looks like responsible parents are just fleeing with their kids.  Am I wrong?  How much public money is being poured into that school system?

And, so, what is more important than what you get for public money when it comes to the education of your kids?  

Where is the serious leader who articulates the basic fact that a city will die if the schools are hemmorhaging like this?  And that they are bleeding because there is so little educating going on there, regardless of how much money is thrown at them?  Aren't you serious about schools, and public safety? 

The school board budget in

The school board budget in 2009 was $1,000,000,000.8.  Let's call it an even billion--that's BILLION--with a "B".  Divided by 44,000 students.  My math says that comes up to just about $23,000 per child.

That's a stunning figure.  Do Ohioans get their money's worth?  Afterall, much of the bill is paid for by non-Clevelanders? 

Do you care?  Or just pretend to?

Article on the schools is

Article on the schools is coming by Monday morning . Interviewed Cleveland schools parent on Friday on employee layoffs and school closings, etc. Yes I care, education is realy my specialty, if I  might say so at the risk of being immodest---Jounalist and Investigative Reporter Kathy Wray Coleman

Kathy, you can say it, cause it is true :)

When you know what you know, that's just it, sure footing.

I sure did not know that there were so many LESS children in Cleveland schools now then before..... hummmm.

When I had first seen your blog and saw how the lynhurst judge boza had done you wrong, and you stood up to that, I knew you would be a woman well worth getting to know.  When I suggested you come here, things were cool, like it appears they are getting back to normal.  As another said, thanks for sticking with it, but, but, but, confrontation never stopped or hurt you I know.... good friend to many finding this out for themselves.

Good luck in your new website, don't be modest tho, link it here, in case people wish to see some of your back stories.  Betty

BTW, I voted on your poll, why not link it here so others can too? 

http://www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com/2011/03/blog-polls.html      there you go smile

The problem is, America is NOT a Democracy - it is a Republic! As our Founding Fathers established, can we keep it?

Thanks. How do I link the

Thanks. How do I link the poll here?

why

are there posts about the Cleveland schools in response to an article about Bridget McCafferty?

Steam of Consciousness commentary on Realneo = DRAMAMINE

DRAMAMINE   is a combination of an upper and a downer

Hey Fishy, I have found, over the years that Realneo has been here, that comments are inspired for reasons most readers can't relate to, fathom or understand.   Something in the post triggers a memory, a passion, a dream, who knows...and then the conversation goes off over the horizon...and that's good because expression is good.
 
So, if your idea of tidy organization is to plug along from A to B to C, realneo won't do that. Here the discussion goes from A to the MOON, then to the Sovereign CitiZen's  movement and then to NEOSD and then to argumentum ad hominem - like last week and in my private emails today.
 
Hang on, take some Dramamine, open your mind to going places you haven't been, report on some original content yourself, and polish your tools of persuasion.   Welcome!

 

I never liked organic

I never liked organic chemistry and only tolerated biolog since I have a degree in it. English and history were always my  favorite subjects. We did, however, train rats to play basketball using the B.F. Skinner concept and that of others. I have been to Australia from New Zealand (in 2008 compliments of my dad) and when you talk about how clear the water was on your trip on another posting try going to Australia and noting the water along the Pacific Rim,  and the fresher air do to a less populated venue--Kathy Wray Coleman--

dramamine, really, Jeff?

 a word play on drama?

a solution for lack of policy?

Or ask Alice :1 pill makes me smaller, 1 pill makes me larger, 

and the ones that mother give don't do anything at all.

searching on here, this is the last thread w/Clev Browns

in it. Thought this was a neat video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCDeQC5iEds

A great video collage highlighting all the splendor that is Cleveland, Ohio. The second half of the video with MSB's "My Town" was created and directed by ALT and Co.
 
Clev isn't down and out all the way around, just yet, lots of good places, things to see, do. Betty

 

 

The problem is, America is NOT a Democracy - it is a Republic! As our Founding Fathers established, can we keep it?