A San Antonio, Texas, jury has convicted solo Mary S. Roberts on five counts of theft stemming from allegations that she helped her lawyer-husband appropriate $155,000 from four men with whom she had affairs in 2001.
The jury returned its verdict Dec. 10 after a weeklong trial. Judge Sid Harle of the 226th District Court scheduled Mary Roberts' sentencing for Feb. 4, 2008. Each theft count is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison.
In 2005, a Bexar County grand jury indicted Ted and Mary Roberts on theft charges based on allegations that after the wife had sexual liaisons with four men, the husband threatened them with litigation unless they compensated him for emotional distress. A second grand jury reindicted the couple in 2006, naming in the indictment the four men from whom the couple appropriated money.
In March, a jury convicted Ted Roberts of three theft charges for taking money from two of the men. The jury sentenced him to five years in prison.
Alan Brown, one of the attorneys representing Mary Roberts, says that Ted Roberts presented the men with copies of petitions that he proposed to file under Rule 202 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. Brown, a partner in San Antonio's Brown & Norton, says Ted Roberts threatened to bring suits against the men for tortious interference with the Robertses' lives.
"This was ordinary conduct that lawyers do," Brown says. "The only thing not ordinary is it was about sex."
Michael McCrum, another attorney who represents Mary Roberts, says he does not think the jury understood the technical legal issues involved in the case. "They got overwhelmed by the salaciousness of it," says McCrum, of counsel at Thompson & Knight in San Antonio.
Bexar County assistant district attorneys Bill Pennington and Tamara Strauch, who prosecuted Mary Roberts, did not immediately return telephone calls seeking comment.
McCrum says Mary Roberts will appeal her conviction. Ted Roberts' appeal is pending before the 4th Court of Appeals in San Antonio, he says.
"I think the real battle in this case is before the appeals court," McCrum says.