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Atlanta bribery figure gets 37 months in brick and rat intimidation case

UPDATE at 3:45 p.m.: Shandarrick Barnes, a former city of Atlanta employee who admitted last year to trying to intimidate a key witness in the City Hall bribery investigation, was sentenced Monday to 37 months in federal prison. 

Barnes, 41, admitted to attempting to intimidate longtime Atlanta construction contractor Elvin “E.R.” Mitchell Jr., a key witness in the federal probe who pleaded guilty to conspiring to pay bribes to win city business. Barnes admitted to tossing a brick with a threatening message written on it after Mitchell told associates he was planning to cooperate with the feds. 

U.S. District Court Judge Steve Jones ordered that Barnes be given credit for some five months Barnes served while in federal custody awaiting sentencing.

More on this story will be available later today at myAJC.com.

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Shandarrick Barnes, the former city of Atlanta employee who pleaded guilty to attempting to intimidate a key witness in the federal City Hall bribery investigation, is scheduled to be sentenced at a hearing this afternoon. 

Barnes pleaded guilty in November for the September 2015, incident, in which he admitted to hurling a brick through a window of contractor Elvin “E.R.” Mitchell Jr.’s home after Mitchell started to cooperate with prosecutors in the federal probe. The brick warned Mitchell to “keep your mouth shut!!!” Dead rats also were scattered around Mitchell’s property. 

Left: a police mugshot of former city of Atlanta employee Shandarrick Barnes. Right: the infamous brick Barnes is accused of throwing in an alleged attempt to intimidate a key figure in the Atlanta City Hall bribery scandal. (HANDOUT) (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Barnes attempted to threaten Mitchell out of concern the federal investigation could hinder his boss’ ability to make money, prosecutors said. That boss, prosecutors have said, was The Rev. Mitzi Bickers, a political operative and former director of human services with the city from 2010 to 2013 who helped former Mayor Kasim Reed win election in 2009. 

On Thursday, Bickers pleaded not guilty to an 11-count indictment accusing her of accepting more than $2 million in bribes for helping Mitchell and another contractor, Charles P. Richards Jr., win city more than $17 million business from 2010 to 2015. Both Mitchell and Richards have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced to prison for their parts in the scheme.

The hearing for Barnes is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. before U.S. District Court Judge Steve Jones.

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