A former county elected official in Cleveland has pleaded guilty to bribery in a widening federal investigation of public corruption.

Former Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH'-guh) County Auditor Frank Russo, a Democrat who resigned last week, pleaded guilty Thursday and faces a sentence of nearly 22 years in prison under a plea deal with prosecutors.

Russo admitted admitted taking more than $1 million in bribes in exchange for steering county government contracts and hiring political cronies.

Russo's political ally, county Commissioner Jimmy Dimora, was charged with bribery Wednesday. Dimora, a former county Democratic chairman, denies wrongdoing.

The latest dragnet in the two-year investigation also nabbed two judges, a labor union business manager, a contractor and three employees in Russo's office.