Peter Krouse, The Plain Dealer
The Plain DealerFormer Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo enters U.S. District Court in Cleveland for his arraignment.
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Frank Russo, pleaded guilty to 21 corruption-related crimes Thursday afternoon, including bribery, obstruction of justice and tax fraud.
The plea agreement, which U.S. District Judge Kate O'Malley accepted, calls for the former Cuyahoga County Auditor to spend 21 years and 10 months in prison and pay an undetermined amount of restitution.
It also stipulates that Russo will not have to testify against any other targets in the ongoing county corruption probe, and does the same for his son, Vince, who is expected to plead guilty on Friday to one count of bribery.
Plain Dealer coverage of the County in Crisis
* Who's accused of doing what with whom: A comprehesive guide
* All our coverage to date
* Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo resigns
* Read the charges against Frank Russo (pdf)
* Read the Justice Department news release (pdf)
* Watch County in Crisis videos
* Day 1: Federal raids target Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora, Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo
* Crisis in county government: One year later
* Crisis in Cuyahoga County government: Two years after the raid
Russo, 60, of Bratenahl, will be sentenced Dec. 10 and begin serving his sentence in May.
Russo admitted to a variety of corrupt schemes, including one that paid him $1.2 million in kickbacks over 10 years after steering contracts to a commercial appraisal company.
He also acknowledged that he tried to cover-up the source of that income by creating a bogus list of people who gave him donations after his son Frank Jr. died 15 years ago.
Russo, one of the most powerful politicians in Cuyahoga County over the past decade, had been auditor from 1997 until he resigned last week amid the government's charges against him. He along with Commissioner Jimmy Dimora were prime targets in the corruption investigation that went public July 28, 2008, with raids of homes and offices across the county.
Dimora was arrested by the FBI Wednesday morning and lead from his home in handcuffs shortly before a 139-page indictment was unsealed. It accuses Dimora of 26 different crimes and includes five co-defendants.
? 2010 cleveland.com. All rights reserved.