Court Hears Convicted City Councilmember's Appeal

When last we heard from convicted City Councilmember Dean Zimmerman, he was making plans for prison ("I am hoping to be able to do some teaching while I am in"). Today, with Zimmerman already serving a 30-month sentence, his lawyers are appealing his bribery conviction in the 8th Circuit Appeals Court. Want to hear how that's going? You can listen to the oral arguments here.

Zimmerman enjoyed a reputation for living on the cheap and working hard (a handyman by trade, he was apparently doing carpentry work for extra scratch when the indictment was announced in 2006).

On the City Council, he had a notorious lean to the left--loyal to his Green Party. Zimmerman was the third City Councilmember to be indicted in under 5 years.

All told, he was convicted of taking $7200 in questionable cash from a developer who had a stake in Zimmerman's zoning votes.

Here's how Zimmerman explained one incident detailed in the indictment to MPR in 2005:

"I don't really know. I mean I... the guy showed up one time and asked me how he could help with the campaign and I said, of course, he could give donations to the campaign -- $300 limit -- and he said , well, he had already given that much. And so I said, 'well, is there something else you can do?' and I suggested that he might want to help out with the redistricting lawsuit.

"Of course, as you know, the Green Party people were gerrymandered in the last redistricting and we took that case to court and we're still trying to pay off some of our legal bills. He wanted to help with that and I thought that was quite reasonable. That's.... and, of course, I've been raising money for that all along from a number of people.. so it doesn't seem like anything unusual."

Avidor of Minneapolis Confidential posted an excerpt of the Government's side of the story (Zimmerman, the Government's attorney said, was "readily predisposed to take money in exchange for selling his office").

USA v. Zimmerman continues...stay tuned.