CLEVELAND -- When Federal Judge Sara Lioi sentences former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora on 31 corruption-related crimes, and one count of racketeering, she will know more about Dimora, the man, than she had the opportunity to learn during his seven-week trial.
Family, friends, and neighbors have all written the judge, asking that Dimora be shown mercy at the time of his sentencing.
Perhaps more notable, were letters from Dimora's wife and children, whom federal prosecutors described as having been neglected in favor of the 57-year-old politician's greater loves: his backyard pool, prostitutes, money, and food.
Lori Dimora told Judge Lioi, "The day he proposed to me, he said, 'I love you, I want to marry you, but I want you to understand I will be involved in politics, so I will be busy.' "
She also said, "He put in many, many countless long hours away from home but always found time to help me raise three wonderful, kind, and respectful children. He loved his family unconditionally and learned how to balance family and work."
She asked Judge Lioi to give her husband of more than 30 years "the lowest possible sentence you can."
Dimora's oldest son, Anthony, who attended much of the trial, also lobbied the judge for a more lenient sentence.
He said in his letter, "I have had the honor and privilege of having him be my father, mentor, role model and friend for the past 28 years."
He also told the judge, "My father has always been there for not only his family, but for anyone who needs help, advice, assistance or just a shoulder to cry on."
Anthony Dimora recalled the phone calls his father took at all hours of the day and night because "everyone was important."
He spoke of the many ball games and other activities his father attended despite his busy schedule.
"The memories I gained during this and every experience demonstrate and evidence just how great of [a] man James Dimora was, is and will continue to be in the future."
He told Judge Lioi, "My only wish is for you to allow my father to continue to be present and participate in future events of my life, such as my wedding, birthdays, anniversaries and career achievements."
He asked that his father be given the lowest possible sentence permitted by law.
The former commissioner’s cousin, Vincent Dimora, wrote that Dimora was a “good person who’s always done what’s right.”
Neighbors John and Debbie Teron called Dimora “a good father” and appeared to blame the press for the salacious coverage of his crimes, saying, “The media seemed to cover many details, both moral and personal that could have been left between his wife and his God. Gossip sells news.”
Other letter writers included politicians, including the former Mayor of Glenwillow, Donald Payne and former Bedford Heights Prosecutor, James Oakar. Bedford Mayor Daniel Pocek wrote, “The sentence you impose is one that is also endured by the family.”
Patricia Britt, who served with Dimora in the Democratic Party for 11 years, said, “I ask for mercy and lenience as you ponder his sentence. Please give him the opportunity to “right the ship” that was his life’s good works.”
Dimora is scheduled to be sentenced by Lioi at 9:30 Monday morning. His attorney has said Dimora may be in a wheelchair due to failing health, brought on by a fall shortly after his incarceration began.