Federal prosecutors' seemingly endless case against Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price and his executive assistant Dapheny Fain hit another bump in the road Monday afternoon.
Just after jurors were sent home for the day, lead prosecutor Walt Junker admitted to U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn that the government had, for the third time during the trial, failed to turn over evidence promptly to defense attorneys. "I am losing confidence," Lynn told Junker, before advising attorneys on both sides that she would take up the issue this morning.
Prosecutors expected to rest their case Tuesday morning, but this misstep caused another delay. That seems unlikely now that the defense will be given extra time to go over the documents they received. Only then will they finish their cross-examination of of FBI accountant David Garcia, the government's final witness.
While it isn't clear what documents prosecutors turned over Monday afternoon, they are likely similar to the contested documents turned over last week. In that instance, prosecutors failed to provide documents related to the roles Garcia and retired FBI agent Dan Sherman played in the decade-long investigation of Price.
After that snafu, Lynn refused to grant a defense request for a mistrial. She didn't strike witness testimony from Garcia and Sherman, to the defense's chagrin, instead opting to allow re-cross examination of the effected witnesses. It is possible that the new documents could lead to additional witnesses being recalled to the stand, further lengthening the government's case.
If the delay is short, the defense will begin presenting its case with Fain's attorney, Tom Mills, making an opening argument for his client. The defense will then begin calling witnesses. In an interview with The Dallas Morning News two weeks ago, Price said that he wants to testify in his own defense, but will follow his lawyers orders if they advise against it.
The defense will attempt to sway jurors that payments between Price's longtime political consultant Kathy Neal and Price were repayments for loans, rather than bribes paid from Nealy to Price on behalf of her clients.