Back in Federal Court, Awaiting Sentencing for the Brian and Cheryl Potashnik (A Live Blog)
[Update: Cheryl Potashnik was given two years probation and has to pay $50,000 to the U.S. District Clerk within seven days. Brian was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison and will be on probation for two years following his release. He also was ordered to pay $1.25 million to the city of Dallas and $50,000 to the U.S. District Clerk.]
Sam Merten Brian Potashnik back in July 2009
It's sentencing day for Brian and Cheryl Potashnik this morning at the Earle Cabell Federal Building, as U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn prepares to close the books on two more of the 14 individuals indicted in the Dallas City Hall corruption case. (Andrea Spencer's awaiting a sentencing date, and Ron Slovacek's scheduled to appear on March 4.) Both Potashniks were charged with 15 counts, tying Terri Hodge with the most, but, like Hodge, they struck plea deals with the prosecution admitting guilt to one count each.
Brian faces a maximum of three-and-a-half years in federal prison for admitting guilt to count 10 -- conspiracy to commit bribery -- and Cheryl faces a maximum of 16 months for pleading guilty to count 7 -- bribery. Brian was a key government witness in taking down most of the group, with Cheryl helping convince Hodge to cop a plea.
Of course, back in February, the three main folks involved in the trial were handed stiff penalties after a jury found them guilty, guilty, guilty. Don Hill's serving an 18-year sentence in Ashland, Kentucky, while his wife Sheila is pecking away at her nine years 700 miles away in Marianna, Florida. D'Angelo Lee was given 14 years.
Along with the sentencing, which should be quite intriguing (former council member Sandra Crenshaw, the only one up here in the overflow room with me, predicts probation for Cheryl), Lynn will also rule on FBI informant Bill Fisher's request for approximately $1.8 million for the dough he spent on two projects that were never built because Potashnik was bribing Hill to approve his affordable-housing deals instead. Fisher also claims the Potashniks need to pony up another $7 million in damages.
It just started. Let's head to the comments for more...