Friday afternoon, nearly seven months after Dwaine Caraway pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges and resigned from the Dallas City Council, U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn will tell him just how long he'll spend in prison for his transgressions.
For a while Thursday, it looked like that might not happen. Thursday morning, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Wirmani and Caraway's attorney, Michael Payma, filed a joint motion with Lynn's court, asking the judge to delay Caraway's sentencing until after he'd testified in a separate federal corruption case this fall.
Lynn denied the lawyers' request.
Last August, Caraway admitted taking $450,000 in bribes in return for influencing the Dallas City Council to approve a program that allowed Dallas County's school bus operator to install cameras that captured drivers who ran school bus stop signs and give them tickets. At the time, he accepted a deal that subjects him to as many as seven years in prison.
Wirmani and Payma asked for the delay, because Caraway is expected to be the star witness in the fall 2019 trial of Ruel Hamilton, a Dallas low-income housing developer who's accused of bribing another former Dallas City Council member, Carolyn Davis, in return for her supporting one his projects.
Davis pleaded guilty March 1 to accepting bribes from Hamilton, but Hamilton denied the charges against him through an attorney.
“Prosecutors make mistakes all the time. Today, they added to the list by staging a setup to trap and then bring charges against my client, Ruel Hamilton," Abbe David Lowell said. "People in this city know Ruel to be a pillar of the community, a fierce advocate for civil rights and fairness to working people and an honest man. When this case is heard and the truth is known, Mr. Hamilton will be exonerated, and we will look forward to our day in court to defend him."
According to Wirmani's filing, prosecutors believed it was in the government's best interest for Lynn to consider Caraway's cooperation before issuing his sentence. While Lynn disagreed, she said the government could file a motion to have Caraway's sentence reduced after he testifies, should it choose to do so.
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