- Associated Press - Friday, April 28, 2017

DALLAS (AP) - A Dallas County jury on Friday found a longtime county commissioner not guilty of bribery and mail fraud charges and failed to reach a verdict on other counts.

Jurors told U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn that further deliberations would not yield a verdict on tax-fraud charges against Commissioner John Wiley Price so she dismissed the jury and ended the trial.

Dapheny Fain, a top aide to Price and co-defendant, was acquitted of charges that included lying to the FBI.

Price told The Dallas Morning News that he was “relieved” by the outcome.

“We were prayed up and therefore we didn’t have to be preyed on,” he said.

Testimony in the trial began Feb. 27 and jurors began deliberating the case April 19.

A conviction on all 11 charges against the longtime political leader and civic activist would have meant decades in prison. Three others earlier were convicted of charges related to the Price corruption probe.

“We’re of course very gratified at the finding by the jury of no bribery whatsoever, but we are not surprised,” said Shirley Baccus-Lobel, an attorney for Price.

Lynn has given federal prosecutors a month to determine whether they will retry Price on the four tax-fraud charges that had hung up the jury.

During the trial, Price was portrayed as a hardworking public servant who helped his close friends in need, but also as a greedy and corrupt man who enriched himself by selling his vote.

He was first elected to his position in 1985.

Federal officials accused him of taking almost $1 million in bribes over a decade from a lobbyist to help her clients. They said he failed to report those bribes and other income in his tax fillings.

Price’s lawyers argued that money he received from Fain, his chief of staff, was repayment of loans he made to her to launch a business and not evidence of a scheme to avoid paying taxes.


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