AKRON, Ohio — Curious members of the community gathered in an overflow room during Jimmy Dimora’s sentencing hearing on Monday.
The room, inside the John F. Seiberling Federal Building, was equipped with a live feed from the courtroom upstairs, where Dimora was seated with his defense team.
“Dejected. He just looks like he’s a beaten man,” said Cheryl Patterson, from Hudson.
Patterson and her husband, Jeff, were among those who paid attention to the trial and wanted to see the judicial process in action.
“I was impressed by a lot of it, I have to say, I wasn’t impressed by his attorneys – with his defense attorneys,” said Cheryl.
Dimora, the former Cuyahoga County commissioner, was convicted on 31 corruption-related crimes and one count of racketeering. The 57-year-old has remained in custody since his conviction.
“He walked in with a walker and I saw him, last I saw him on the news, he was just walking like normal, so I thought that was kinda interesting,” said Scott Wharram, a student from Kent State University. Wharram and his classmates were assigned to watch the hearing as part of a summer program.
“Taking the bribes, using your position for your personal gain, the gain of others, obviously lands you in a pretty sticky situation like it does now,” said a fellow student from Kent State.
Monday’s hearing lasted several hours as the prosecution and defense lawyers went back-and-forth over bribe amounts received by Dimora, some as little as $6.
“I felt that this was a good guy that did a bad thing. I think in his heart he was a good guy, he just did a bad thing,” said Jeff Patterson from Hudson. “I feel it’s a turning point for northeast Ohio, I feel that after years of this – and now it’s come out – perhaps things’ll change, for the better.”
The overflow room will be open to the public throughout the sentencing hearing.