Three Hawaii men have been found not guilty in a federal extortion case.
Curtis Swanson, Tory Winward and Jesse Yoshino were accused of being a part of the violence behind the Shack Waikiki. They allegedly used threats and assaults, but two of the three accused men said they were the ones who ended up being hurt by the case.
"I couldn't be with my family, my nephews and we lost everything," said Swanson.
Two years ago, extortion charges were filed against the men. They had to fight for their freedom even though they weren't even free to fight.
"They said we were a danger to society. They didn't want to give us bail. They denied us bail. It was something hard for me to swallow," said Winward.
Winward worked as the head of security at the Shack Waikiki. He was accused of intimidating other owners to give up their shares of the business to him.
Federal prosecutors had records of phone calls in which defendants demanded money or threatened to hurt other operators. They also had video of attacks, but after a day and a half of deliberation, the jury came back with not guilty verdicts on all the charges.
"Prosecutors talked about organized crime and extortion, but it was nothing. It turns out the jury understood it was nothing," said Winward's attorney Michael Green.
Attorneys for the men said the case should never have even been in federal court. Instead, they believe their clients should have been tried in a regular courtroom on just misdemeanor charges.
"Harassment, terroristic threatening, assault at the worst, and that would be misdemeanor assault. Instead, prosecutors tried to bring it as this huge racketeering case in federal court," said Swanson's attorney William Harrison.
Because of all the publicity over the alleged assaults and violence, the men said even though they are free now, their reputations have taken a beating.
"How do I get those two years back? My credibility -- parents trusted me with their kids. How do I get that back?" asked Winward.