Hill Plans Appeal in Corruption Trial Verdict

Hill convicted on 7 of 9 counts, faces 105 years in jail, plans appeal

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCDFW.com
    Don Hill and Sheila Farrington Hill talk to the media after a federal jury returned guilty verdicts in the Dallas City Hall bribery/conspiracy trial.

    A federal jury delivered guilty verdicts Monday morning in the bribery/conspiracy trial of former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill, 57, and four other defendants.

    Also on trial were community activist Darren Reagan, businessman Rickey Robertson, former Dallas Plan Commissioner D'Angelo Lee and Hill's wife, Sheila Farrington Hill.

    The convictions are part of what federal prosecutors called "the largest corruption case in Dallas City Hall history." The case alleged Hill and other former officials sought hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from contractors interested in building apartment complexes.

    Hill, Others Convicted in Dallas Corruption Trial

    [DFW] Hill, Others Convicted in Dallas Corruption Trial
    A federal jury delivers guilty verdicts in the bribery/conspiracy trial of former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill and four others.

    Throughout the investigation and trial, which began on June 22, Hill has maintained his innocence.

    "I know that in my heart, we didn't have a corrupt intent," he said. "I think that's why you're not going to see tears or anger or bitterness."

    City Hall Corruption Conviction: 'A Dark Day in Dallas'

    [DFW] City Hall Corruption Conviction: 'A Dark Day in Dallas'
    In the wake an ex-mayor pro tem's corruption conviction Dallas city council members say a dark cloud hovered over City Hall and Mayor Tom Leppert vows to reform the city's government ethics code.

    Six people have pleaded guilty in the case, including developer Brian Potashnik who told a Dallas jury last July that he bribed city leaders to get their business.

    All of the defendants sat stone-faced as the verdicts were read, including Hill and Lee who each face as many as 105 years in prison and a $2 million fine.

    "This is not the result that we expected," Hill said.

    Hill's wife was found guilty on five of six counts and faces 75 years behind bars and a fine up to $1.5 million. Robertson was found guilty on two of three counts and faces up to 40 years and prison and a $750,000 fine while Reagan, who was found guilty on two of four counts, faces up to 40 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

    "They violated the public's trust," said Marcus Bush, lead prosecutor. "Their conduct was egregious. The jury has sent a message."

    Hill's wife said justice was not served Monday and that they will appeal the jury's verdict, which she described as "unfortunate."

    "We are innocent of what we have been charged with," said Hill's wife, Sheila. "I feel a little numb right now. I feel numb, and that is because we've done this in faith the whole time."

    Juror Rachel Secore disagreed, telling NBCDFW.com, "I and my fellow jurors carefully considered all the evidence presented, and I believe that the verdict we delivered is fully supported by that evidence. I believe that justice has been served, and I am honored to have performed my civic duty."

    Mayor Tom Leppert said in a statement that the jury's decision closed a "difficult chapter" in Dallas' history.

    "This ordeal reminds all of us -- as public servants -- to be mindful that everything we do lives up to the spirit and letter of the law," he said. "Our citizens deserve and expect nothing less."

    Leppert said the City Council will consider passing additional reform measures to address issues that came up during the trial.

    Click here to read the entire statement.

    See a .pdf of the indictment and verdicts here or look below.

    THE INDICTMENTS AND THE FEDERAL JURY'S VERDICTS

    Count 10: Conspiracy to Commit Bribery Concerning a Local Government Receiving Federal Benefits in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371:
    Donald W. Hill - Guilty
    D'Angelo Lee - Guilty
    Sheila Farrington Hill - Guilty
    Rickey E. Robertson - Not Guilty

    Count 11: Bribery Concerning a Local Government Receiving Federal Benefits in violation of 18 U.S.C. §666(a)(1)(B) and 2:
    Donald W. Hill - Guilty
    D'Angelo Lee - Guilty

    Count 11: Aiding and Abetting in Bribery Concerning a Local Government Receiving Federal Benefits in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2:
    Sheila Farrington Hill - Not Guilty

    Count 12: Bribery Concerning a Local Government Receiving Federal Benefits in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 666(a)(1)(B) and 2:
    Donald W. Hill - Guilty
    D'Angelo Lee - Guilty

    Count 12: Aiding and Abetting in Bribery Concerning a Local Government Receiving Federal Benefits in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2:
    Sheila Farrington Hill - Guilty

    Count 15: Conspiracy to Commit Extortion in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951:
    Donald W. Hill - Guilty
    Darren L. Reagan - Guilty
    Rickey E. Robertson - Guilty
    D'Angelo Lee - Guilty

    Count 16: Extortion by Public Officials in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1951 and 2:
    Donald W. Hill - Guilty
    D'Angelo Lee - Guilty

    Count 16: Aiding and Abetting in Extortion by Public Officials in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2:
    Sheila Farrington Hill - Guilty
    Darren L. Reagan - Guilty

    Lee claims he was entrapped in connection with count 15 and 16. When asked if the government proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Lee was not entrapped, the jury responded with "not entrapped" to Count 15 and "not entrapped" on Count 16.

    Count 17: Extortion by Public Officials in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951:
    Donald W. Hill - Not Guilty

    Count 17: Aiding and Abetting in Extortion by Public Officials in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2:
    Darren L. Reagan - Not Guilty

    Count 18: Conspiracy to Commit Deprivation of Honest Services by Wire Fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1348:
    Donald W. Hill - Guilty
    D'Angelo Lee - Guilty
    Sheila Farrington Hill - Guilty

    Additionally, the jury found that Hill and Lee violated the Dallas City Code of Ethics Chapter II, §12A-3.

    Count 19: Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h):
    Donald W. Hill - Guilty
    D'Angelo Lee - Guilty
    Sheila Farrington Hill - Guilty
    Rickey E. Robertson - Guilty

    Count 20: Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h):
    Donald W. Hill - Not Guilty
    Darren L. Reagan - Not Guilty

    Closing arguments concluded last Wednesday.  It is not yet known when the sentencing phase of the trial will begin.