Don Sherman is perhaps the most storied FBI agent in Dallas history, the man behind most of the major corruption cases in Dallas over the past 20 years. And he always got his man, except one, possibly the most famous one, Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price. What Sherman got instead was a physical trial he's still struggling to win.
Relentless. Intimidating. Bulldog. A few words some have used to describe former Dallas FBI Agent Don Sherman. The gallery of his criminal conquests is full: Dallas City Council members Paul Fielding, Al Lipscomb and Don Hill, Planning Commissioner D' Angelo Lee and State Representative Teri Hodge.
In June of 2011, Sherman led the raid on the home and office of Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price and was a key player in the feds charging him with bribery and fraud.
But just one year later in the middle of the investigation, Sherman suffered a near fatal stroke. "I almost died," said Sherman. "In fact, I flat-lined on the table during one of the follow-up surgeries."
Sherman may have survived, but the damage was devastating physically, emotionally, professionally. "I woke up in ICU totally paralyzed on the left side, unable to sit up of move," said Sherman. "Everybody knew at that point that my special agent days were over."
His central role in the federal bribery case against Price was over. The only part he would play in the trial was that of a partially paralyzed witness, whose frailty was exploited in cross-examination by a cunning defense lawyer Tom Mills.
Sherman's mistake, inadvertently calling Tom, "Bob" outside the courtroom. "The minute that came out of my mouth I just wanted to pull it back," said Sherman. "I knew his name was Tom. I knew it he might use that against me on the stand in trial."
He did. It was a powerful moment for the defense team. Advantage Price.
Defense attorneys were able to bruise the prosecution's case by questioning the competency of the fabled FBI agent, a dark moment for Don Sherman. Yet at about the same time, something big was happening in his personal life.
Sherman met a new trainer, former world champion body builder and rehab specialist Dan Judge of Gym McKinney. And after almost five years of little physical progress, a breakthrough that Sherman calls a miracle.
Once paralyzed on his left side, he is suddenly using his hand and leg and lifting weights he never thought possible. "I mean the arm is there, as are the muscles," said Sherman "It's just a matter of re-mapping the connections from here to there to make it move, and Dan is teaching me how to do that."
Not "might" or "will." And perhaps it's no coincidence that Sherman's physical hurdles began to clear at the same time John Wiley Price was being cleared by a jury of his peers and Don Sherman began to let go of the past.
"I'm at complete peace," said Sherman. "My faith is not stronger than it's ever been because I know that God saved me."
Instead of harboring anger over any jury verdict, Sherman says he has decided to dedicate his future to sharing his story and his faith. "I have a new purpose in life," said Sherman. "It's not about putting people in prison. It's about setting people free."
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