John Wiley Price Corruption Trial Underway

John Wiley Price Not Gullty
Commissioner John Wiley Price and Chief of Staff Dapheny Fain enter the Earl Cabel Federal Building during first days of trial.

Despite Long Trial, Price Commits To Commissioner Duties

DALLAS—County Commissioner John Wiley Price is going to be busy for at least the next four months.

That is how long the trial, which is currently under way, is likely to last says U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn.

Its anticipated the trial will conclude by June 30, 2017.

This past weekend, after the first week of the trial, Price was headed to a wake when we talked. The Commissioner is one busy man.

Unable to comment about the trial, he told us about a month ago, “I am ready to get it over with.”

It’s no surprise because the Commissioner still has things to do and commitments he has to meet on a daily basis. He’s not letting the trial slow him down if he can help it.

Price said he will miss about six Commissioner Court’s between now and the end of June. The courts are held every other week. Commissioner Price has been a Dallas County Commissioner for District 3 since 1985.

Early Jury Selection Delays

Last Tuesday, the first day of the trial, was spent culling through 70 potential jurors. Court wasn’t dismissed until 9:00 p.m. that evening.

The jury and alternates that were finally chosen include 15 jurors. Of the 15 jurors and three alternates there are two black women, six white women, two black men, two white men, one Hispanic woman, one Hispanic man and one Asian woman.

One alternate has already been tapped, after one of the 12 original jury members became ill.

Last Thursday the John Wiley Price jury heard the 107-page indictment. It took about four hours to hear the entire thirteen counts. Price formally pleaded ‘not guilty’ on Thursday after the indictment was read.

Dapheny Fain, 55, Price’s long time assistant is also being tried and is accused of paying Price money through her business. She also pleaded not guilty Thursday.

On Friday, the trial was postponed due to another juror having family issues.

Opening Statements

This week the trial’s opening statements began on Monday.

The defense maintained in the opening statements that the government has spent years building a case against Price, the culmination being the corruption trial that is now underway.

Some of the charges being brought, date back to 2005. There is a question as to a statute of limitations. Price’s attorney Shirley Baccus-Lobel said there had been “no mud unslung” when it came to what Price was being accused of over the past years.

“He just didn’t. Never did, never will,” she said. “It is a story of a man who not only works 24/7 for the County of Dallas. He does that same thing for his friends, day in and day out.”

As one of Dallas County’s Commissioners, Price is paid about $100,000 a year. However, the lead prosecutor in the trial argued that Price received over $1 million in money he never reported to the federal government.

Prosecutor Nick Bunch also told the jury in regard to taxes, Price only used his work salary as income. He’s received about $8,000 in yearly income tax refunds.

The prosecutors closed their statement after only about 45 minutes.

Alleged Co-Conspirators

In addition to Chief of Staff Dapheny Fain, several other women have been named who are associated with Price. This includes an African art business owner, Karen Manning. Manning has already pled guilty and might testify against Price saying she paid him money.

Political consultant Kathy Nealy is being tried in a separate trial. Nealy is said to have given Price about $900,000 in cars, real estate and cash.

Overall, Price is being charged with bribery, tax evasion and mail fraud. Fain is being charged with being an accomplice.

The long awaited trial has been postponed several times, and now that its underway is expected to last months. It is projected that as many as 200 witnesses will be called. There are also thousands of pieces of evidence for the jury to consider.