I Do (Have to Testify)

After posting the note below about the impending Don Hill-Sheila Farrington nuptials, we received several e-mails asking the very same thing Unfair Park's been wondering since first learning of the happy couple's news last week: Should a federal grand jury actually indict the mayor pro tem or his former consultant in the FBI's ongoing corruption investigation, which celebrates its one-year anniversary tomorrow (how time crawls), would they have to testify against one another in front of a grand jury? While no one will comment from the U.S. Attorney's office--because it's an ongoing investigation, ya know, and can't even confirm there is one--Lori Bailey, spokesperson for the Dallas FBI field office, says the husband-wife "privilege is, I believe, not retroactive."

She's speaking generally, of course; danged if you'll get anyone at the FBI to comment on the investigation, which began (publicly, at least) with the June 20, 2005, raid on Hill's City Hall offices and BMW, which belonged to Farrington (maybe a dowry of some kind?). But, Bailey says, "I do not believe [the privilege] occurs when there is not a marital relationship there" before a potential crime is committed and a formal investigation commences. At the state court level, the Texas Rules of Evidence certainly bear this out: Rule 504 offers two exceptions to the husband-wife privilege, one of which says a person's spouse can be called to the witness stand to testify about "matters occurring prior to the marriage." And while we're trying to figure out what to get Farrington and Hill as a wedding gift, what do you get a criminal investigation for its one-year anniversary, which is the "paper" anniversary? Gosh, hope it's not an indictment! --Robert Wilonsky

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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