DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Deliberations continue for the second day in the John Wiley Price federal corruption trial. The longest-serving Dallas County commissioner could learn his fate Thursday. Price has spent the last 30 years as a city leader. If the jury convicts him of a felony, however, he will be stripped of that position.
Jurors have already spent eight hours on Wednesday trying to decide the outcome of this case.
Price has been charged with bribery, mail fraud and tax evasion. Prosecutors stated that, for years, he took nearly $1 million in bribes — in the form of cash, land and cars — in exchange for his vote on the Dallas County Commissioners Court. Price’s chief of staff, Dapheny Fain, is accused of helping him.
The embattled Dallas County commissioner faces 11 charges in this case. Fain faces two charges for allegedly helping to cover up Price’s misdeeds. Judge Barbara Lynn has made it clear, though, that she may overrule any guilty verdict on the mail fraud charges, because she does not believe that fraud was proven.
Jurors asked two questions on Wednesday, but Lynn will not say what those were.
The trial is coming to an end much sooner than expected. When it first began, some said that it could last through June.
Price supporters plan to be at the courthouse when the verdict is read. The commissioner has a large fan base after decades of representing a minority-dominant district. Mollie Finch Belt, publisher of the popular Dallas Examiner newspaper, referred to Price as the voice of black Dallas. “Without John, we lose our voice,” she said. “He spoke out when others did not.”
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