So, pretend I'm the jury pool consultant. Pretend ace white-collar criminal lawyer Billy Ravkind hired me to advise him on the mood and mindset of potential jurors in the eventual and inevitable federal corruption trial of his client, Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, currently the target of a metastasizing FBI investigation.
Imagine for a moment that I am pondering the outcome of last Saturday's "nationwide" daylong rally in support of the embattled commissioner. In an entire day, between 20 and 30 people showed up from the nation to express their support for Price.
In all the TV shots I saw, the rally was entirely desolate. There was no one there. Not a soul. Our Leslie Minora, who covered it, said most of those who did show up only arrived toward the end of the day.
If I'm the jury consultant trying to gauge Price's public support, I have to look at this in context. The crowd at Price's rally would have been disappointing for a retirement party. He was hoping for Tahrir Square.
Some people blamed the heat. But just three miles west, hundreds of morbidly obese persons were queuing up to stand for as long as eight hours in triple-digit temperatures outside Gilley's on South Lamar Street to audition for NBC's The Biggest Loser. They were literally risking their lives.
At Price's rally, an aging relic of the civil rights movement named Mukasa Dada provided the weekend's most Dadaesque moment by speaking in praise of Moammar Gadhafi barely 24 hours before the Libyan freedom movement swept into Green Square in Tripoli. Talk about being on the wrong side of history.
So let's go back to my imaginary status as the jury consultant reading all of these tea leaves and trying to distill out of them some solid advice. What do I tell Ravkind, Price's lawyer, when I call him today with my report on Saturday's nationwide rally?
Look, it's not just about this one rally, anyway. I went to the first two. There were more people at those. But I'll tell you what: I don't want to be unkind, but if the commissioner is counting on those folks to take to the streets in his defense, he needs to start supplying them with backup batteries for their Pride Wrangler Motorized Wheelchairs.
It's pretty obvious what I tell Ravkind today. I say, "Billy, you need to get on the phone to the feds right now. You need to tell them you're ready to do a deal."
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Former Dallas city councilman Don Hill wouldn't do a deal, because he didn't think he was guilty, and he said he was putting the case in the hands of the Lord. He got 18 years.
If I'm the jury consultant and I'm looking at public support for Price right now, I'm telling Ravkind, "Do not, I repeat do NOT put this one in the hands of the Lord. Put this one in the hands of the feds. Beg for mercy and ask if there is anybody at all they would like your client to roll on."
But you know what? I really wouldn't have to tell Ravkind that kind of stuff. He'd know it all way before I did. The person to tell it to is Price. In fact, Price ought to be the one on the phone to Ravkind today.
"Hey, Billy. John. Plan B."