THEY WERE BIG NAMES IN THE CITY, elected to public office to serve the people. Instead, they stood accused of serving themselves, of trading on their influence to make a few bucks. The revelations, each more breathtaking than the next, kept coming. One politician, then another. Then another. The bribes in some cases reached into the tens of thousands of dollars. The evidence was damning, the criminal charges grave, the defendants defiant. Power itself was on trial.
Carmen Ortiz, new to the job, attacked these breaches of the public trust with vigor. She and her cohorts on the government’s prosecution team saw themselves as guarantors of democracy. They held the political class rapt, weathering intense scrutiny of federal authorities’ controversial undercover methods. She put in long hours building toward high-stakes litigation.