Guilty verdict in Atlanta City Hall corruption trial

A jury has found a political operative and former Atlanta city employee guilty on charges including money laundering, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bribery that resulted from a long-running federal investigation into corruption at City Hall

Mitzi Bickers was the first person to go to trial over the investigation into corruption during former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed's administration. A jury of six men and six women found her guilty on nine of twelve counts, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Bickers, who helped Reed win election and then worked as his director of human services, was accused of using her influence to funnel business to city contractors Elvin “E.R.” Mitchell Jr. and Charles P. Richards Jr. Prosecutors said she directed roughly $17 million in city work to the two men and their companies in exchange for about $2 million in bribes.

Both men pleaded guilty in 2017 to conspiring to pay bribes, were sentenced to prison and were witnesses for the government against Bickers.

Prosecutors also accused her of trying to use money and influence to get contract work from city officials in Jackson, Mississippi.

Mitchell and Richards were both charged in early 2017, and about a half dozen other people were charged as the investigation continued over the next several years. Several of them were high-ranking members of Reed's administration, but the former mayor himself was never charged.

Some others ensnared in the investigation pleaded guilty and were sent to prison, but Bickers' lawyers insisted she was innocent. Two other people, another former city employee and another contractor, have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled for trial later this year.

Two current city employees were placed on paid administrative leave this month after their names came up during the trial, the Journal-Constitution reported.