Monday, July 31, 2006

Defence: "This is America and we believe in money and we believe in politics."

Opening statements and more.

Details on the first day of the trial coming up.

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Strib: Details about Zimmermann Trial

The Strib's Randy Furst gives us a few more details:

[Federal Prosecutor] Docherty said he expected it would take the entire week to present his case, and Scott said he anticipated he would be completed with defense testimony by the middle of next week, that could mean jury deliberations beginning by Aug. 9 or 10.

The Strib links to Zimmermnann's defence fund web site on its front page.

Loosetrife on the Dean Zimmermann Trial

This from the Minneapolis Upside Down blog:

Today, at last, former 6th Ward city council member Dean Zimmermann goes on trial for alleged corruption.

His supporters have been chanting the "innocent until proven guilty" mantra ever since his home was raided last September. Soon they will stop. Zimmermann will likely be found guilty--the Strib reports that 90 percent of Federal cases result in conviction, and the feds say that they have Z on video and audio tape negotiating to receive bribes.

Good post... read the rest here

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Star Tribune Article About Zimmermann Trial

The Star Tribune opens the media coverage of Zimmermann's trial with an article by Randy Furst.

Zimmermann, a Green Party member, could face about five years in prison if convicted, said his attorney, Dan Scott. Zimmermann denies wrongdoing, saying he was raising money for a lawsuit to overturn the redistricting of his ward.

The article doesn't mention this charge:
The grand jury also alleged that in October 2004, Zimmermann received an email from the management of the Powderhorn Residents Group requesting Zimmermann’s signature on certificates of completion and release of forfeiture for the newly constructed Franklin Station Townhomes.   Zimmermann allegedly responded by agreeing to do so but then asking the Residents Group to construct, at no charge, a retaining wall on the property of his former partner.  When the Residents Group declined, Zimmermann then asked that the materials for the wall be given to him free of charge.

The article gives a preview of Zimmermann's defence:

"I was raising money for the redistricting lawsuit," Zimmermann said in an interview Thursday, explaining the cash he got from Carlson. "I was raising money for different groups. This was just one more. Not like it was a secret. I had the money. People knew it. [Carlson] came forward and said he wanted to help. He said he had maxed out on campaign contributions, so I said, 'Why don't you give to the redistricting lawsuit fund?' "

Was it in exchange for favors? "It's absurd," he said. "What did I do for him that I didn't do for dozens of others?"
The defense is expected to call witnesses who will make that point. Scott said evidence will show Zimmermann agreed to help Carlson before any discussion of money occurred.

Will it work?

"I feel confident, but with a jury, you never know," said Zimmermann, a self-employed handyman, who was doing repairs Thursday in the basement of a St. Paul house. "The FBI guys think it's a big status thing. They go out there to nab a politician."

The U.S. attorney's office declined to comment.

Park Board's Annie Young a Witness at Dean Zimmermann's Trial?

That's what she is saying. Other Minneapolis city officials may also testify.

Trial starts tomorrow.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Dean Zimmermann and Supporters Prepare for Monday's Trial

This message is from David Shove's Progressive Calendar

From: D4J Legal Defense Fund
Subject: Dean Zimmermann 7.30 7pm

Dear Friends, Supporters, Family of Dean Zimmermann & Jenny Heiser,

You are invited to join Dean and Jenny at their home at 7pm on Sunday,July 30th, the evening before Dean's trial begins, to join in acommunity-sharing ecumenical Quaker Meeting/gathering for worship with afocus on support and encouragement.

This is an opportunity for friends and supporters, no matter what yourfaith or spiritual beliefs, to come together to gain support through eachother's presence and to offer support to Dean and Jenny, their family, andtheir legal team, by being together in community.

This hour-long sharing will be led by Richard Fuller and/or BetsyRaash-Gilman, members of Twin City Friends Meeting (TCFM) in St. Paul, andmembers of TCFM's Committee of Support that has been meeting, and willcontinue to meet during and following the trial, with Dean and Jenny. Yourpresence would be very much appreciated.

Dean's trial starts at 9am on Monday, July 31, at the Minneapolis FederalCourthouse (see the address below). At this time it is unknown whichcourtroom will be used for the trial. Officials at the 1st floor desk can tell you which courtroom the trial is being held in, if you ask. Juryselection will begin at 9am and is expected to take approximately 3 hours.
A lunch recess will likely be taken after jury selection. Openingarguments will take place in the courtroom on Monday afternoon.

Dean, Jenny, and Ross, the youngest of their three sons, will bike fromtheir home at 2200 Clinton Avenue South to the Federal Courthouse in downtown Minneapolis; leaving at approximately 8am on the morning ofMonday, July 31st. Please feel free to bike along with them.

Should you be unable to join in biking to the Courthouse with Dean, hehopes that many of his friends and supporters will come to the Courthouseat approximately 8:30am on Monday to wish him well. If you cannot come
that morning please hold Dean, his family, his attorney Dan Scott, andothers on the legal team, in your thoughts and/or prayers.

The trial is expected to last approximately 2 weeks, ending eitherThursday, August 10 or Friday, August 11. Local media will possibly keep folks abreast of when the trial ends and the jury is empanelled. The
Zimmermann for Justice Legal Defense Fund's website: HYPERLINK "" will also carry updates as the trial progresses. Jurydeliberations can last anywhere from 1-3 days in a case such as this. Averdict is expected/hoped for no later then Wednesday, August 16. Dean is innocent of the government's charges of corruption and is confident of acquittal by the jury once they are presented with the facts of his case.

During the approximately two weeks that the trial is expected to last,feel free to visit the courtroom during the trial proceedings. Jenny willbe attending the trial every day, though on the days she has cleaning clients she may not be in the courtroom the entire day. Both Jenny andDean would appreciate your company in the courtroom anytime during the

Please know that during the day both Dean and Jenny's cell phones will beturned off. The best phone number to call to leave a message during the day and evening is 612-724-3888. During the two weeks the trial is
expected to last neither Dean nor Jenny, regrettably, will be able to return phone calls.

How can you help support Dean and Jenny during the trial, besides sharingyour presence in the trial courtroom? In a number of ways: 1) Drop off prepared food anytime after 6 p.m., Mon.-Wed., of each week during the trial, it will be very gratefully accepted and appreciated. Any extra food will be taken to St. Stephen's Homeless Shelter each of those
evenings; 2) Stop by the house and see if you can help by watering and tending the plants, taking out waste to the compost bin and/or turning the compost, washing a load of clothes and hanging them on the clothes line (weather permitting), taking phone calls, loading the dishwasher, or any other chore you can think of; 3) Stop by the house and give a neck and
shoulder massage in the evening; 4) send a card or note expressing love and support, and include a joke or funny story to lighten their spirits; 5) send an e-mail with a joke or funny story; 6) hold Dean and Jenny, their family members, the legal team, and the jury, in your thoughts and prayers; and 7) any other way you can think of to offer support, encouragement and comfort during this stressful time.

[The information below was taken directly from the Minnesota Federal
Courts webpage, except the biking parking part.]

The average trial day runs from approximately 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.,
Monday through Friday.

Casual attire is acceptable. Men may wear sports jackets, sport shirts,sweaters and slacks. It is recommended that women wear blouses, sweaters,skirts, pants or dresses. Halters, tank tops, shorts and jeans with exaggerated tears are NOT appropriate. Courtrooms are often cool. You may want to bring a sweater or jacket.

Cell phones, pagers and other sound reviewing, transmitting and enhancement devices may be brought into the courthouse. But, they must be turned off at all times in the courtroom and adjacent areas where their operation could be disruptive to court proceedings.

Mpls Federal Courthouse Address:
300 S. 4th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone: 612-664-5000
TTY/TDD: 612-664-5029
Building Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

There is ample bike parking on the 4th St side of Minneapolis City Hall.
City Hall is directly across the street from the Mpls Federal Courthouse.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Zimmermann Trial Begins Monday

Former Councilman Dean Zimmermann's trial begins Monday, July 31st.

Here's the indictment :

Friday, January 18, 2006
Minneapolis  - Former Minneapolis City Council Member Gary Dean Zimmermann was indicted today by a federal grand jury on charges of accepting and soliciting money and other things of value in connection with his official capacity as a member of the City Council and its Committee on Zoning and Planning.

Gary Dean Zimmermann, age 62, from Minneapolis, was charged with three counts of accepting cash and one count of soliciting property, a retaining wall, from people with business before the City.

According to the indictment, in June 2005, Zimmermann allegedly accepted $5,000 from the developer of Chicago Commons, a condominium and retail complex in Minneapolis , who was seeking a change in the complex’s zoning. On two other occasions in August 2005, Zimmermann took $1,200 and $1,000 in cash from the same developer in exchange for assistance with any zoning issues that would arise regarding the development of a retail mall for members of the Minneapolis Somali-American community.

The grand jury also alleged that in October 2004, Zimmermann received an email from the management of the Powderhorn Residents Group requesting Zimmermann’s signature on certificates of completion and release of forfeiture for the newly constructed Franklin Station Townhomes.   Zimmermann allegedly responded by agreeing to do so but then asking the Residents Group to construct, at no charge, a retaining wall on the property of his former partner.  When the Residents Group declined, Zimmermann then asked that the materials for the wall be given to him free of charge.
If convicted, Zimmermann faces a maximum potential penalty of ten years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine on each count of the indictment.  Any sentence would be determined by a judge.

The case is the result of an ongoing investigation by Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John Docherty.

Jury selection begins Monday morning. If that goes quickly, there may be opening statements in the afternoon.

Interest has died down in this case. There has been very little in the media about Zimmermann since the the original indictment . Even the bloggers have avoided the story.... except for this guy.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Minneapolis Confidential is Back!

Former Councilman Dean Zimmermann's trial is scheduled for July 31st.

Read all about it right here at Minneapolis Confidential.