With body guards, drivers and an entourage, Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill enjoyed the trappings of his first term in office, according to testimony in his racketeering trial Thursday. But the loss of his 2008 re-election effort caused him to crash and the tonic for that depression, his friends told him, was to get out of town.
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The jury by the numbers
Twelve jurors and two alternates were seated Thursday in Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill’s racketeering trial. The jurors’ identities are kept secret during trial. Here’s what we know about them by the numbers.
That’s the number of men on the jury. The two alternates are both men.
The number of African-Americans on the jury. Seven of the nine men are black, all three women are also black. A white male and an Asian male fills out the jury pool. The two alternates are both black.
The court called 350 Clayton voters for jury duty, an unsually high number based on the assumption that it would be difficult for the court to find 14 Clayton residents who have no opinion about Sheriff Victor Hill and haven’t been closely following the legal case.
That’s the number of jurors who listed their occupation as retiree. The others hold an assortment of jobs: a nurse, a retail salesman, a small business owner are among the jurors’ occupations.
The case against Hill
With opening statements Thursday, prosecutors laid out their theft and racketeering case against Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill and Hill’s attorneys laid out his defense.
The prosecution contends Hill stole from taxpayers when:
- During Hill’s first time in office as sheriff, from 2005 to 2008, he used county credit cards and cars for vacations, including to Mississippi casinos and gambling boats in South Carolina.
- He put a subordinate on paid leave so she could illegally collect a salary while traveling with him.
- He ordered a sheriff’s employee to write his biography.
The defense contends Hill is not guilty because:
- The charges and investigation are politically motivated. Charges, Hill’s attorneys say, were filed only when it became clear that Hill was going to run again for sheriff
- Several prosecution witnesses, including one of the investigators in this case, are angry with Hill because he fired them. They cannot be trusted, the defense says.
- Some of Hill’s credit card and vehicle use is defensible and did not amount to theft.