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Justice or Judgment Is Coming in John Wiley Price Probe. Let's See Who Gets Wet.

OK, let's get over the thing about "no one has been indicted" in the ongoing federal corruption investigation of Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price.

It's true. No one has been indicted. But let's be real. Somebody will be.

I am working on a column for next week's paper about behind-the-scenes maneuvering and what lies ahead in the already expansive and ever-expanding FBI probe of African-American elected officials in Dallas. And let me tell you something. Everybody knows it's coming.

Most of the conversations I am having are with people who can't afford to talk to me if I use their names. That's as frustrating for me as it is for you, because of course it gives you permission to suspect me of just making it all up. I'm not. But that's the downside of unnamed sources.

On the other hand, some of this is common sense -- a thing you could figure out just by watching, without my chiming in at all.

The federal government doesn't go this far down the road, raiding offices and hauling people before a federal grand jury, unless a very long process of duck-lining-up has already taken place. And those ducks are posed in a nice long line for one purpose: so that the feds may seek and win indictments.

What does it mean if they get indictments? Defenders of the future defendants in this case have been telling me it doesn't mean squat. It means the feds asked for indictments. Federal grand juries, they have pointed out to me, always give the U.S. Attorney what the U.S. Attorney asks for.

Yesterday somebody repeated for me the cliché about ham sandwiches. If the U.S. Attorney tells the grand jury to do it, the grand jury will indict a ham sandwich. It's a courthouse joke -- very unamusing for persons facing possible federal indictment. But probably true.

In recent weeks at rallies of support for Price, there has been a lot of quotation from the Bible, specifically the Book of Amos, Chapter 5, Verse 24, which changes a whole lot depending on which version of the Bible you're reading from. Most of the people invoking it at the rallies have preferred versions of the Revised Standard translation: "But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."

Googling it this morning, I couldn't help noticing that old King James had a quite different take on that same verse. His version is: "But let judgment run down as waters ... "

Justice. Judgment. Two different deals? Be careful what you ask for.

I also noticed in looking it up in my own very dusty Bible at home that the preceding verse says: "Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen."

Oh, no. So far, the songs and the harps have been my favorite part.

It's going to get a whole lot more serious. Soon. We might as well prepare ourselves.

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