Update: A federal judge yesterday denied Jimmy Dimora's request to move his upcoming corruption trial out of Northeast Ohio after his lawyers argued that saturated, unflattering media coverage would prejudice the jury pool and create a media carnival.
Lioi described the majority of the newspaper articles about Dimora as unflattering and sometimes titillating, but fair, accurate and balanced. She also found the conduct of reporters to be professional.
Glad to see Judge Lioi thought our photoshop of a topless Jimmy by his tiki hut was professional.
But Dimora's lawyers did score a small victory when the judge allowed the former commissioner's request for an expanded jury pool. Lioi said 700 juror questionnaires had already been mailed out (incidentally, if you got one of these, feel free to pass it along), with queries mainly focusing on whether prospective jurors would be available for what is expected to be a lengthy, three-month trial. Those available for a marathon trial will be brought to the courthouse later for more questioning focusing on "pre-trial publicity." Those with pre-trial knowledge of Dimora's case (um... everyone?) will get a semi-private session with the judge as to not spread damaging info to other jurors.
The judge also denied Dimora's request for a separate trial from co-defendant Michael Gabor.
Jimmy Dimora's trial is slated to begin in January 2012. Folks are guessing that the affair will last three months.
But before we get to that point, Jimmy Dimora's lawyers have filed a Jimmy Dimora-sized mountain of pretrial motions. Among other objections, they want Dimora to have his own trial, separate from now co-defendant Michael Gabor, and most notably, they want Dimora's trial held outside of Northeast Ohio where they contend intense media coverage of the Cuyahoga County corruption saga has prejudiced potential jurors and where, they say, there will be a "circus" atmosphere once everything gets under way.
"A circuslike atmosphere takes place even here in Summit County as we try to come into the courthouse," [Dimora's lawyer] said. "It happens every time we're here. We have to push through the media lined up along the front of the building. This is the kind of atmosphere that can create prejudice."
The judge seemed unimpressed, according to the PD.
"I'm telling you right now that is not going to happen," Lioi said. "Don't make off-the-cuff remarks about a circus atmosphere because it's not going to happen."
Jimmy's lawyer was also concerned about the inherent distrust of politicians and how that would affect a jury pool, a contention that gave Judge Lioi opportunity to do some stand-up.
"And where would you like to go to avoid that?" Lioi replied
This is going to be fun, folks.