William T. Reid IV, one of the founders of the Reid Collins & Tsai recently won a complete acquittal in a San Antonio federal court for his client Olga Hernandez, an SAISD trustee. She was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy of violating the 18 U.S.C. 666, popularly known as the mark of the beast statue. William Reid who is popular for his civil court victories represented the 66-year old Olga Hernandez, who was a former school district employee. Hernandez had worked for 30 years as a secretary for the San Antonio Independent School District and was then elected in 2006 as a trustee. Olga held this position for about 11 years until February 2017 when she resigned after being publicly indicted and arrested.
Important cases to reflect:
The government upheld the fact that Hernandez received an inappropriate and undue amount of entertainment and travel from several people who were involved in rigging an insurance bid. The theory was that all these big riggers were meant to buy off Ms. Hernandez’s vote through the unwarranted entertainment and travel.
The government even offered lucrative deals to the alleged co-conspirators as an exchange for their testimonies against Ms. Hernandez. There was adequate proof of these gifts and the alleged co-conspirators also gave their testimonies against Olga Hernandez. The defense alleged that Ms. Hernandez was indeed a friend of the conspirators and their families. She took the generous gifts of entertainment and travel out of the friendship she had with them. Olga had no hunch that bribes were paid and she never involved herself with the RFP process that resulted in the different contracts that were in question.
Just like most honest service cases, the U.S government heavily relied on Olga Hernandez’s alleged violation of the conflict of interest and gift disclosure policy of SAISD. Even though violating these policies is not a crime, the government tends to merge such violations into the offense that one is charged with. William T. Reid IV of Reid Collins & Tsai was able to prove to the jury that none of the said gifts needed disclosure.
- Reid was able to win this case because he explored intricate details of the entire bidding process that resulted in the insurance contracts being questioned. As a result, he was able to demonstrate how Olga Hernandez was minimally involved in the process, and this helped in breaking the actual connection between any official act and the gifts of travel and entertainment that she received. The Olga Hernandez case was a perfect illustration of how the government can get a wrongful conviction if the defense counsel does not carry out its homework.
- With the legal expertise of William Reid and his team, Hernandez won the case against the government with a not guilty charge. Justice was particularly sweet in this case because since Reid was a persecutor before, he knew that there was a high probability of Hernandez being taken into custody if she was convicted. After the emotional day and the acquittal, Hernandez shared her ordeal with her grandchildren as she had ensured that they were uninformed of her troubles.
William Reid is a high-stakes, high-end attorney who divides his time between Austin, Texas, and Manhattan. The most impressive thing about William Reid’s win is the fact that he accepted the case and tried it pro bono as a favor to one of his friends, Alan Brown, who is a legendary criminal defense lawyer in San Antonio.
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