SHERMAN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – For the second time, a former Richardson Mayor and the developer she later married go on trial for bribery and other federal charges.
Prosecutors say the case is about corruption and an affair the two had before they got married.
Former Richardson Mayor Laura Maczka, now Laura Jordan, and developer Mark Jordan walked to federal court on Tuesday, July 6 surrounded by their family.
Before the jury entered the courtroom, the couple pleaded not guilty to charges of bribery, honest services wire fraud, and tax evasion.
Prosecutors said the former mayor accepted cash, vacations, and home renovations from Jordan and had sex with him in exchange for her votes to change the city’s zoning on land fronting Central Expressway and to approve hundreds of apartments that Jordan wanted to build there.
During opening statements Tuesday, prosecutors told jurors that the Jordans “corruptly convinced the city of Richardson to approve a multi-million dollar real estate deal” and that they “used their adulterous affair and subsequent marriage to cover up corruption and get away with this.”
But the Jordans’ attorneys told the jury that the former mayor voted for the project because it was in the best interest of the city, and that a majority of council members approved the project too.
The couple’s lawyers also said their affair was totally separate.
A Richardson resident who testified for prosecutors said he voted for Maczka in 2013 because of her campaign pledge to vote against new apartments.
The former mayor’s attorney called that pledge “fake news.”
Two years ago, a jury convicted the Jordans.
But the judge tossed out the conviction after it was revealed a court officer advised one of the jurors before a verdict was reached.
The government decided to prosecute the case again.
The FBI and Richardson city officials are set to testify, along with Laura Jordan’s ex-husband and Mark Jordan’s ex-wife.
If convicted, they each face years in prison.