New indictment in city of Atlanta bribery case

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A federal grand jury returned an 11-count indictment Thursday against a former Atlanta city employee and Atlanta School Board member as part of a massive federal probe of Atlanta City Hall.

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Mitzi Bickers arrived at the Richard Russell Federal Building with her attorneys early Thursday morning and would not comment about the indictment to FOX 5 I-Team Senior Reporter Dale Russell.

The 11-count indictment charges Bickers with conspiracy, bribery, money laundering and witness tampering.
RELATED: Atlanta contractor sentenced to 5 years in bribery scheme

The indictment alleges contractors paid Bickers paid bribes totaling more than $2,000,000 to city contractors. Bickers’ attorney says she is innocent and plans to fight the indictment.

This is the latest development in the ongoing federal investigation into alleged City Hall bribery which the FOX 5 I-Team has covered for months.

Bickers is a local pastor and political operative who once did campaign work for Mayor Kasim Reed and worked with Mayor Reed at Atlanta City Hall. The move comes after Bickers’ business partner pled guilty last year to his own federal charges.

In October 2017, contractor E.R. Mitchell admitted in federal court he paid more than 1 million dollars over 5 years to an unidentified person who was to spread the money around in exchange for City of Atlanta construction contracts.
RELATED: Atlanta contractor, E.R. Mitchell, pleads guilty to conspiracy 

Another contractor, Charlie Richards, also pled guilty to paying bribes. In November, another man pled guilty in the investigation. Former city employee Sean Barnes pled guilty to threatening Mitchell by throwing a block through his front window.

At the time of the plea, then-U.S. Attorney Kurt Erskine told the judge that Barnes threw the block through Mitchell's window just days after Mitchell met with and cooperated fully with the FBI and IRS in a bribery and money laundering case.  

RELATED: Second contractor charged in Atlanta bribery investigation

“He knows he made a big mistake, he regrets it, he’s remorseful,” says Barnes’ attorney Bill Morrison.   

Why did he do it? In court, Barnes was described as angry because Mitchell's cooperation with the FBI threatened work he and his employer were trying to get.

Barnes' attorney said that unidentified employer was Mitzi Bickers.