By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Whether that mistake alone cost him an acquittal is somewhat academic. Jurors interviewed after deliberating on and off again for six days say it was the overwhelming weight of the government's evidence that caused them to return their verdicts of guilt.
"The jury's verdict today," announced U.S. Attorney Jim Jacks in a post-trial press conference, "shows that the citizens of this community do not want a government where the game is rigged and the people in positions of power seek to further their own interests before that of the citizens they are supposed to be serving."
Aided by the testimony of Fisher and five of the 14 co-defendants who had pleaded guilty, the prosecution secured a major victory, but it's not over yet. Separate trials for state Representative Terri Hodge, Ron Slovacek and Jibreel Rashad, Robertson's partner in RA-MILL, are forthcoming. Cheryl Potashnik, Brian's wife, has pleaded guilty and will testify against Hodge, who is charged with accepting rent and utility subsidies from the Potashniks in exchange for letters of support for Southwest Housing.
But don't think for a moment that Don and Sheila Hill have been humbled by the verdict or are giving up the fight. Both are appealing their convictions.
"It's not like some little game, and if you lose, oh, you lost the game. People's lives are at stake," Sheila insists. "It's just the next step of being lynched."