The jury has found John Wiley Price not guilty in his corruption trial. Here are eight things to know about the Dallas County commissioner:
When he took office
John Wiley Price took office on January 1, 1985. He is Dallas County’s longest serving commissioner and the first African-American elected to the county commissioners court. He represents District 3, which includes downtown Dallas, Deep Ellum, parts of West Dallas, central and eastern parts of Oak Cliff, and most of southeastern Dallas County.
Investigations began in 2005
In 2005, federal investigators began examining John Wiley Price’s dealings. During the investigation, 150 federal agents worked on Price’s case and at one point it had the most documents of any current criminal case in the United States. In 2014, Price was indicted on 11 counts including bribery, conspiracy to defraud the IRS, mail fraud, and tax fraud. Among other things, Price was accused of taking bribes in exchange for votes on county contracts.
He still has support
Despite run-ins with the law over the years during public protests he organized and the 2014 federal indictment for corruption, Commissioner Price continues to have widespread support in his district, getting re-elected in November 2016 general election with 67% of the vote.
Among other things, Price oversaw the expansion of Parkland Hospital and started KwanzaaFest at Fair Park, which has since turned into a health fair. Price is known as a fighter for minority rights and their inclusion in county business. He is outspoken, unafraid of racially charged conversations and often divisive during his 32-years as a county official.
Beginning of the trial
On February 27, 2017, Price’s corruption trial began in Judge Barbara Lynn’s courtroom in Dallas’ federal courthouse. It was originally predicted to go until end of June but has ended weeks earlier. Price did not testify in his own trial. He had not been present at commissioner’s court since the trial began.
In 2014, Price was indicted on 11 counts of corruption including bribery, conspiracy to defraud the IRS, mail fraud, and tax fraud. If found guilty, Price faced anywhere from probation to three to five years in federal prison.
The jury found him not guilty of bribery, conspiracy to defraud the IRS, and six counts of mail fraud. The jury was hung when it came to the charges involving tax fraud.
What happens next
Price has been released and was all smiles after the verdict was read. U.S. Attorney John Parker said he would meet with the prosecution team to discuss where they go from here. The judge told the prosecution she will give them a month to decide whether they want to retry Price on the four counts of tax fraud.
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