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TRUMBULL COUNTY Before press conference, judge issues gag order in officer's case



Published: Sun, March 23, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



The police officer's trial is scheduled for March 31.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- Prosecutors and a defense attorney involved in the felonious assault case of a Newton Falls police officer have been ordered not to speak about the case.

A gag order was issued Wednesday by Judge W. Wyatt McKay of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, about an hour before Sgt. James Zimomra's attorney, Gregory S. Robey was scheduled to give a morning press conference.

The order states that attorneys for both sides are not to discuss the case. The order does not state why the judge issued the ruling.

Zimomra's trial is scheduled to begin March 31 with jury selection.

Zimomra pleaded innocent in May to two charges of felonious assault and one charge of misdemeanor assault. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.

Robey sent a news release March 10 stating a press conference would be held Wednesday as a result of the large amount of negative publicity Zimomra has received. The notice stated that the event would be held at the Newton Falls Police Department but that Zimomra would not be present.

Robey and Zimomra have declined several requests for interviews.

Zimomra is accused of assaulting Connie Casseday, 22, and John Lusher, 23, both of Garrettsville, during their arrest April 2. On a videotape recorded by a camera in another officer's cruiser, Zimomra can be seen hitting Casseday. She received seven stitches.

The other felonious assault charge deals with Lusher. Officials said Zimomra is accused of hitting the man with his cruiser.

Richard Schwartz, Newton Falls law director, said that since Zimomra was indicted on a crime of violence, he cannot carry a gun.

Police Chief Robert Carlson said Zimomra, who is free on a $25,000 bond, is working as an administrative aide. He said Zimomra will continue to get his regular $15-an-hour pay to answer telephones and do paperwork.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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