Ritz Braswell was a key prosecution witness. Cotena Alexander was the mystery woman, talked about a lot during the trial as accepting bribes from Mitzi bicker, but she never appeared in court.
Earlier this year a federal jury found long time Atlanta political operative Mitzi Bickers guilty of conspiracy to commit bribery, money laundering, wire fraud and filing false tax returns.
ER Mitchell, a city contractor, told the jury about the cash for contracts scheme. He testified he paid Bickers bribes, and she said she would spread the money around to city employees, including Rita Braswell and Cotena Alexander.
The result: millions of dollars in contracts for ER Mitchell and his partner Charlie Richards for snow removal, sidewalk, and bridge repairs.
One of the names that often surfaced during the trial was city of Atlanta’s Transportation Deputy Commissioner Cotena Alexander. Prosecutors alleged in their opening statement that Alexander took some $30,000 in cash bribes from Mitzi Bickers in exchange for steering contracts to ER Mitchell.
Despite testimony about the alleged bribes, neither side called Alexander as a witness. One juror the FOX 5 I-Team after the verdict
There were still a lot of questions and curiosity as to why the jury didn’t get to hear from her. Many think she seems to be a key player.
Rita Braswell was a key prosecution witness who testified she didn’t know who or why ER Mitchell was hired during Atlanta’s 2014 snow storm. She told the jury Cotena Alexander was the one on her team who pre-negotiated prices with contractors.
The city opened an internal investigation while the trial was still underway. Late Wednesday, the city released termination letters for both employees. The letters didn't give any reason for the firing. City officials would not comment on why they fired the two women.
FOX 5 tried to contact both Rita Braswell and Cotena Alexander for comment and were not able to reach them.
Mitzi Bickers will be sentenced in July.