DALLAS (AP) — The defense completed presenting its case Thursday in the federal corruption trial of longtime Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price after calling just two witnesses.
Price’s legal team called a county administrator and an accountant as a defense expert before resting its case. Price did not testify.
Testimony extended over an eight-week trial in federal court in Dallas. Closing arguments are scheduled for Tuesday morning, after which jurors will begin deliberations.
Price is charged with mail fraud, conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and filing a fraudulent income tax return. The longtime political leader and civic activist would spend decades in prison if convicted of all 11 counts against him. Three other co-defendants have already been convicted on charges related to the Price corruption probe.
Price’s lawyers have argued that money he received from his chief of staff was repayment of loans and not evidence of a scheme to avoid paying taxes. They contend Price was helping his aide, Dapheny Fain, launch a side business and that she repaid the loans.
Federal officials accuse him of taking almost $1 million in bribes over the course of a decade from a lobbyist to help her clients. They said he failed to report those bribes and other income in his tax fillings.
Fain is charged with helping Price avoid paying his taxes and with lying to the FBI. Her lawyer has denied the accusations.
Prosecutors earlier in the week were admonished by U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn for repeatedly failing to turn over evidence to the defense in a timely manner.
Price, an influential commissioner who has served in the role since 1985, is being portrayed on the one hand as a hardworking public servant who helped his close friends in need, and on the other as a greedy and corrupt man who enriched himself by selling his vote, The Dallas Morning News reported (http://bit.ly/2pxMogK).