Thursday, September 9, 2010

Feds charge Frank Russo with 21 counts; Russo resigns, may plead; won't testify against Dimora

The feds just hit Frank Russo with everything they've got -- 21 corruption charges: 14 for bribery, 2 for obstruction of justice, 4 for tax fraud.

Looks like most of the nasty stuff we've heard about is in there: the $1.2 million cash kickback allegation, jobs for sale, setting up a chump Republican to run against him.

Russo resigned this morning, and it looks like he'll plead guilty. The filing is an "information," not an indictment, a sign of cooperation. reports that Russo's deal with the feds will resolve the charges against his son, Vince. But Russo won't testify against any other public officials. That means he's willing to go to prison for a much longer time than if he'd agreed to testify against Jimmy Dimora. The charges also reportedly implicate ex-sheriff Gerald McFaul. More on that once I dig into them.

From the U.S. Attorney's press release:

The Information charges Russo participated in numerous bribery schemes beginning in March 1998 and continuing through May 2009, all while serving as Auditor. Specifically, it charges that Russo solicited and accepted things of value, such as cash, home improvements and travel to Las Vegas, Nevada, in exchange for County contracts, jobs, raises, reductions in tax valuations and other official favors. The information also charges that Russo gave Joseph Gallucci a job and cash in exchange for running a sham campaign against him. In addition, the Information charges that Russo filed false tax returns for the years 2004 through 2008 and that he obstructed justice.

More soon.

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