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Prosecutors Prep Killer Counterpunch

29ed! That's lawyer talk for the knockout ruling by Common Pleas Judge Eileen Gallagher last week, dismissing the "honor killing" case against Musa Saleh. Prosecutor Carmen Marino was said to be "distraught" after fumbling what police and prosecutors thought was a solid case. It didn't look that way to defense attorney Jerome Emoff. "There literally was no evidence of an honor killing," he says. "They developed the motive before they developed the evidence." Emoff asked to have the case heard by a judge after 36 out of 44 potential jurors said they already believed the murder of Methal Dayem was an honor killing. Despite the setback, the Prosecutor's Office is forging ahead with plans to try co-defendant Yezen Dayem. "We're absolutely taking the second guy to trial," says top prosecutor Bill Mason, promising "different evidence" next time around. Prosecutors may also ask for a new judge -- which would be the fourth in this case, easily outnumbering the possible convictions.

Next stop for U.N. peacekeepers: Cleveland City Hall, where even the tiniest spark sets off a conflagration these days. When a Channel 35 (city cable) cameraman left a council hearing on the living wage last week, mayoral mouthpiece Brian Rothenberg accused council Communications Director Rodney Jenkins of ejecting him. "I did not kick anyone out," insists Jenkins, who says the hearing simply didn't merit TV coverage. "We've been making an extra effort to make sure everything is covered, given council's complaining in the past," says Rothenberg. Counters Jenkins: "That's the kind of mentality this guy has brought to the administration, perpetuating an us-versus-them attitude." It ain't good government, but add some prize money to the bickering, and it could be a hoot of a game show.

Credit Editor Ellen Stein Burbach with pulling off a masterful overhaul of The Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine at a time when many newspapers are shutting down Sunday supplements. Burbach shopped printers from California to Canada before settling on The PD's own Brooklyn Heights press, which can't handle glossy, Parade-size paper stock, but gives the magazine a print run just 48 hours prior to publication. "We can think and plan differently now," enthuses Burbach, who has gotten over the first hurdle of redesign -- complaints from readers confused by the new size, location, etc. "We haven't gotten any calls yet from readers saying they can't find the magazine," she says. "But believe me, if they can't, we'll hear about it."

How serious is the Rock Hall about its new fund- raising effort? Serious enough to lure Daniel Ducoff, one of the premier arts fund-raisers in town, away from the Playhouse Square Foundation. "We can finally do the things we should be doing, like soliciting sponsors, foundation grants, and high-end donors," says Rock Hall CEO Terry Stewart. "It's a big job," admits Ducoff, 43, who brought a huge infusion of corporate money into Playhouse Square. "But once we focus our message and develop the right relationships, I think the rest will come." Ducoff's enthusiasm stems in part from his second career as a klezmer musician and "shtickmeister," the band member who goes into the audience to get people on their feet. "You have to dance to klezmer music, and I'm there to make that happen," says Ducoff. He'll need the fancy footwork dancing for Rock Hall dollars.

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