Dimora in Cleveland: May Be Telling What He Knows

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CLEVELAND-- Former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora may be telling a county grand jury what he knows about the corruption scandal that brought him down.

Grand jury proceedings are secret, but Dimora's appearance raises the possibility that he has been granted immunity from further prosecution.

Dimora is currently serving a 28-year federal prison sentence for convictions on more than 30 corruption-related charges.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty has re-opened portions of that investigation.

McGinty appears to be focusing in part on the county's botched Ameritrust deal.

In 2007, the FOX 8 I-Team broke the story of a federal probe of county government with a story on a questionable asbestos deal at Ameritrust.

The investigation asked why the county rejected a qualified low bidder and, instead, chose to pay $900,000 more to get the same work done.

Attorney David Mills, who is not connected to the Dimora case, said if the former commissioner has been granted immunity, he faces a choice.

"He can testify like any other witness, or face the possibility of contempt of court," Mills said.

Normally, Dimora could assert 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination. But immunity, in essence, waives those rights by promising a witness that whatever he says won't be used against him.

It's not clear that Dimora is talking to the grand jury. But the longer he is in county custody in Cleveland, and not a federal prison in West Virginia, the more likely it appears that he is talking.

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