John Wiley Price's secret weapon
The outcome of the John Wiley Price corruption trial will likely be debated for years to come. So many people were so sure that Commissioner Price would be found guilty, but so many were wrong.
And few have ever heard of the person one could argue was Price's secret weapon.
Let's go back to April 28. Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price emerged from the federal courthouse a free man. A jury had found him "not guilty" of conspiring to solicit bribes. Price's legal team was led by attorney Shirley Baccus-Lobel.
She and Price were all smiles, basking in glory. This is not their story. This story is about the guy in the glasses always seen walking behind them, smiling. He's one of the key reasons John Wiley Price walked. His name is Chris Knox, who is 35-years-old and has been practicing law for eight years. He's the son of longtime time defense attorney Bill Knox. They have an office together and occasionally run into each other at the courthouse. "I love that kid," said the elder Knox. "He has been the best kid that's ever been. No really and truly."
Two years ago, out of nowhere, Chris gets a call from the feds. They want to appoint him to represent Commissioner John Wiley Price in what was being called one of the largest corruption trials in the country. "It was a rush of thoughts. Yes, I would be honored and I would be flattered, but I asked myself. Can I handle it?" said Knox.
And for two straight years, his office became the war room for the Price defense, 12 to 15 hour days, six days a week. Knox and his team of interns and legal assistant Heather Malone, were processing, prioritizing, a crazy amount of evidence compiled by the feds against Price, eight terabytes of data. And how much is that? "660 million sheets of paper if you printed it all," said Knox.
That explains the stacks of boxes and materials cluttering his war room, as well as all the suits draped on the coat tree -- four or five suits, maybe more, probably 20 ties. "I literally lived down here," said Knox. And it paid off. During the trial, Knox shared the stage with lead defense attorney Baccus-Lobel. He calls her the brightest legal mind he has ever worked with. But Knox may have shined the brightest during the two-month trial and especially during his riveting, 75-minute closing argument.
Engaging, passionate, focused. So focused he says he tossed his notes, addressed the jury and as he says he let it flow. "I had lived this case for so long that the facts were readily accessible in my mind, and they were right there waiting for me to be able to tell them," said Knox.
The verdict, not guilty.
Now, nearly two months later, it's back down to earth, to reality. Back to the county courthouse where he struggles to rebuild his law practice basically from scratch. "My days now? They are a little bit slower, and there is some residual stuff that we are still taking care of," said Knox.
One day last week we followed him around. All he had was two case resets -- an aggravated robbery and a DWI.
But John Wiley Price and Chris' father will tell you, those two clients are getting the best representation in the courthouse.