By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Because five of the six defendants are minorities, the defense has claimed that the sting operation is a racially motivated attack that singled out black and brown politicos from the beginning. The selection of a 14-member jury panel with three blacks and two Hispanics makes it more likely that defense lawyers will try to hammer the theme of a racially motivated prosecution.
But at least one member of the team isn't certain the defense will play the race card. "It's a fact of this case that the government targeted minorities," says the attorney. "How much we're going to emphasize that or let the facts speak for themselves, we're just going to have to wait and see. Some jurors don't like playing the race card. And while I'm not saying that is what bringing out the targeting of minorities is, it still has be done very, very delicately."
Instead, the defense will try to put the government on trial by hammering hard at the FBI's conduct.
"They want to corrupt people," says Dick DeGuerin of the FBI. "They want to create crime."
Upon that premise likely turns the fate of the Hotel Six. If the jury can be convinced that the six people in the dock would never have taken the cash and violated the law without prompting from the government, their stay in Hotel Six will likely come to a swift conclusion. But if those tapes and videos convince the panel that Ben Reyes and his friends have been caught in broad daylight doing what they usually do behind closed doors, there may be no exit.