Here we sit, waiting for closing arguments to begin in the Dallas City Hall corruption trial in federal court. Judge Barbara Lynn is listening to the lawyers on both sides as they tell her what instructions they think she should or should not give the jury after the closing arguments, when she sends the jury out to find a verdict.
Judge Lynn and Assistant U.S. Attorney Chad Meacham have just wound up a long conversation about entrapment. About the most I was able to get out of it is that the prosecutors are worried about this issue. They think the jury might find former Dallas City Plan Commissioner D'Angelo Lee guilty of taking bribes but nevertheless acquit him because they think he was tricked into breaking the law by the government's undercover informant, Bill Fisher.
I came in late on this, and I don't want to claim here that I fully understand the issue, some of which is summarized in the prosecution's lengthy court documents filed yesterday and available after the jump. But it seems to me the feds are pretty worried about this, almost so much that they think the judge will be guaranteeing Lee a walk if she gives the jury a big long instruction on entrapment. Lynn did not agree not to give the instruction. But she told Meacham she won't talk to the jury about entrapment if Meacham can convince her that the feds would not be able to appeal a not-guilty verdict based on entrapment.
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Yeah, I know. This is where we almost need a lawyer up here helping us do the coverage. But I can give you a certain bottom-line: GOVERNMENT WORRIED LEE WILL WALK ON ENTRAPMENT.
Having sat through a bunch of this, my own guess is that the entrapment question is more likely to produce a hung jury than a not-guilty.
I believe we're going to be stuck on this stuff until about 10 a.m. My kingdom for a cup of coffee.