Spotlight on Kelley’s Health in Dimora Trial

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AKRON, Ohio--

Attorneys for former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora took their best shot trying to discredit the testimony of one of the government’s most important witnesses in his corruption trial.

Andrea Whittaker continued her cross-examination of J. Kevin Kelley, focusing in part on his medical problems.

Kelley testified earlier in the week that he suffers from multiple problems, including bi-polar disorder, insomnia and depression. He testified that he takes 21 pills a day. The trial itself was interrupted on Tuesday when he was taken away from the courthouse because of an undisclosed health problem.

The defense attorney for co-defendant Michael Gabor also raised questions about Kelley’s ability to testify, asking about testimony that he had, in the past, been delusional.

"You hallucinated and heard voices?" asked Lief Christman.

"I would be in my basement sleeping, trying to sleep, and wake up occasionally hearing things," testified Kelley.

In her re-direct, however, Assistant U.S. Attorney Antoinette Bacon asked Kelley, “Do any of those health issues affect your ability to tell the truth?”

Kelley answered, “No.”

Defense attorneys seemed to be taking multiple jabs at Kelley’s week-long testimony rather than trying to land a knockout punch.

Whittaker moved quickly through perceived discrepancies in Kelley’s testimony that conflicted with statements he made to the FBI.

Kelley testified that he began cooperating with the FBI when they first started questioning him in June 2009 and estimated that he met or spoke with investigators “a hundred or two-hundred times."

“It was a lot, sometimes two three times in a day. I was either on the phone or meeting with agents, probably three or four times a week at the beginning of this process,” he told jurors.

During testimony this week Kelley admitted being a part of or an eyewitness to many of the crimes for which Dimora is charged.

He testified about taking and giving bribes in exchange for government jobs, helping rig an election, trips to casinos and work he saw being done at Dimora’s Independence home.

On his way into the federal courthouse, before starting his cross examination, Christman called into question Kelley’s credibility.

"It's just been the longest week sitting there since Monday to hear him spewing his nonsense and not get a chance to talk to him,” said Christman.

Kelley pleaded guilty in 2009 to 11 counts of his own including bribery and conspiracy.

He testified earlier this week that he expects to go to federal prison.

Defense attorneys tried to show through their cross examination that he stands to gain a lot from his cooperation with federal authorities.

Christman, however, questioned why accusations against Michael Gabo were not discussed at the very first meeting Kelley had with investigators.

“Is it fair to say that during that meeting you are trying to do your best and recall the things that you were aware of that were pertinent?" asked Christman.

“I did that in every meeting, not just the first meeting,” answered Kelley.

Christman also asked if Kelley knew the total amount of money his crimes cost the county.

Kelley answered, “I don’t have an exact number, I’m not proud of it though.”

Christman pointed out that the estimates are about $500,000 total.

Kelley, who now lives in Florida, testified that he currently collects $4,000 a month from disability insurance.

“When you were approached by the FBI you knew you had done a bunch of things wrong?” asked Christman.

“Yes sir, I'm not proud of that,” answered Kelley.

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