Besides, the very nature of the obstruction of justice charge also betrays his claimed innocence. If he hadn't been engaged in an illegal activity, why did he ask people to lie about what he had done? And let's not forget the tapes of Odio counting out the money he received.

Hernandez says that even after reading the damning transcripts of those tapes in the Herald he remains unconvinced. "I don't see that there was any case against him," Hernandez claimed. "I still believe he is an honest man."

A long-time friend of Odio, Hernandez has been raising money to pay Odio's attorneys' fees and any fines he might face. Hernandez says he issued between 100 and 120 letters seeking financial support for Odio and claims to have received "a substantial positive response," although he won't say how much was raised. "Our goal was $250,000 and I think we were pleased by the result," he says, adding he would now turn his attention to drumming up letters of support for Odio that can be presented to the judge prior to sentencing.

As it turns out, Odio isn't the only criminal with a new bank account opened in his honor. As part of his sentence, Dawkins was ordered to repay the $30,000 in bribes he received during the sting. (Although Dawkins accepted $100,000, he pocketed only $30,000. He gave the rest to Howard Gary to invest for him without realizing that Gary was an undercover informant for the FBI.)

Several months ago, the federal government received its first check toward restitution. Drawn on an account at Peoples National Bank of Commerce for $5000, the check was from the "Miller Dawkins Defense Fund." It was signed by Castell V. Bryant, who is the president of Miami Dade Community College's north campus. Bryant said she opened the account at the request of Dawkins. "He came to me with several checks that people had written to him and asked me to be responsible for putting these in the bank," she explains. She does not recall how many checks Dawkins gave her or who they were from.

Bryant, who has been friends with Dawkins for more than ten years, says she has not been involved in any sort of fundraising and is merely acting as a custodian for the account. She says there is one other person authorized to write checks on the account, but she adds she cannot remember that person's name, only that it was a local minister. Bryant claims she has not reviewed bank statements for the account and does not know how much money is in there.

She recalls writing two checks: one to the federal government for $5000 and one to Dawkins's attorney, Jesse McCrary, for approximately $2000. If Dawkins is relying on friends and supporters to help pay off some of the money he owes the government, what did he do with all of the bribe money he received? "I don't know what he did with the money, and I never asked him," replies McCrary. "As far as I was concerned, it was none of my business."

It would seem likely, however, that the single greatest expense in Dawkins's life between the time he took the money and the day he pleaded guilty in court were his legal fees. And as McCrary is fond of pointing out, his services do not come cheap. He would not disclose how much money he has charged Dawkins, except to describe it as "big dollars, lots of money" -- obviously more than the $2000 the defense fund provided. Which could explain why McCrary has shown an amazing lack of curiosity when it comes to his client's financial transactions; as McCrary is well aware, it is against the law for an attorney to knowingly accept illegally obtained money from a client.

In addition to defense funds, something else that Odio and Dawkins have in common is their refusal to help federal prosecutors root out other corrupt individuals at city hall. Not only did they refuse, they made a point of making sure everyone knew they would not cooperate, as if this somehow makes them men of respect, instead of what they really are -- criminals with misplaced loyalties.

"Believe me when I tell you I did not let anybody down," Odio said. Apparently the only people Odio did not let down were his fellow libertines. And if Odio and Dawkins ever do become bunk-bed buddies in prison, perhaps they can pass the time comparing notes on all the people they are protecting.

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