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Federal prosecutors charged County Auditor Frank Russo in a 21-count information filed this morning in U.S. District Court in Cleveland.

Russo, 60, of Bratenahl, resigned early today. He is expected to plead guilty to bribery and obstruction charges, according to sources, based on an agreement that would resolve all issues related to both the longtime Democratic politician and his son, Vince.

Although the plea agreement has not been made public, it will include a substantial sentence for Russo that could have been cut in half had he agreed to cooperate with the government against others, according to a source familiar with the deal.

The deal will likely call for Russo to spend 20 or more years in prison, according to sources. That very well could mean Russo will spend the rest of his life behind bars for his refusal to turn on others.

Neither Frank nor Vince Russo will be required to testify against any other defendant or be questioned at all in connection with the probe.

A source with knowledge of the agreement says that the deal assures Frank Russo’s daughter and his housemate, Michael Calabrese, will not be prosecuted.

Vince Russo was charged with bribing a Maple Heights schools official and former Maple Heights school board member with free television sets. The agreement with his father dictates the sentence Vince will receive. He had previously pleaded not guilty.

Unlike previous plea agreements in the probe, the one between prosecutors and Russo cannot be altered if initially approved by a judge.

The charges against the auditor recount many allegations made against him in documents outlining charges and plea deals of others caught up in the investigation.

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Article courtesy cleveland.com

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