How Much Did You Pay to Defend Don Hill?

Schutze and Merten are off in darkened corners finishing their City Hall corruption trial wrap-up (as in, What does it all mean?), so I'll refer you to KXAS-Channel 5's piece concerning the bill for the trial, which, the NBC affiliate says adds up to a whopping $750,000. That's from the defense attorneys, mind you, all of whom were court-appointed, save for Rickey Robertson's, which came out of his own pocket.

But I just spoke to Victor Vital, Sheila Farrington Hill's attorney, who says that figure's actually a little low, since it doesn't take into account the most current invoices -- not to mention whatever costs will be accrued during the appeals process following Monday's convictions.

"Ray [Jackson, Don Hill's attorney] and I, our budgets alone approached $700,000, and I think when you add D'Angelo [Lee]'s it's closer to a million," says the former Harris County prosecutor. "And Ted Steinke [Darren Reagan's attorney] is court-appointed. So if you're trying to get an accurate picture of how much public funds were used for court-appointed council, you'll need to wait a month. But based on court budgets we have to submit, the cost will exceed $750,000." Again, that's just for the initial three-month-long trial.

As for how much it cost to prosecute the case, well, Kathy Colvin in the U.S. Attorney's Office tells Unfair Park, "We don't track expenditures by cases."

Incidentally, the next hearing is scheduled for November 13, when the judge will hear motions to overturn or set aside the guilty verdicts. Motions will be filed later this month.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky