A second juror was removed from the John Wiley Price corruption trial on Wednesday because of illness.
Judge Barbara Lynn said the trial will continue with only two alternates, but she is concerned about that. The trial just started three days ago and is expected to last about four months.
Federal trial lawyers and retired federal judges told FOX4 they have never seen two jurors fall sick and be released from jury duty in a trial -- especially the first week and especially one as high profile as the price case.
If the number of jurors drops to 11, then the prosecution and defense would have to agree to proceed. Otherwise, a mistrial could be declared by the judge for not having a full jury of 12.
Before lunch Wednesday, a car search, credit cards and cash dominated testimony. The government is trying to show the tangle of business and money between Price, his long-time assistant Daphney Fain and lobbyist Kathy Nealy.
In June 2011, the FBI searched their offices and cars at Commissioners Court. Price had more than $2,000 in cash on him when agents searched him.
Prosecutors said Fain also had credit cards in Price’s name, Price had card in Fain and Nealy’s name on him and in his vehicle.
At Price’s commissioner’s office there were a number of items found not related to county business including a bumper sticker that read, “IRS: I Represent Satan.” At his home there was African art, jewelry, a safe, 14 custom suits, 29 shirts and 20-plus other suits in a closet.
“The government is building the case of… ‘If you are a county official how do you have those luxury cars? Why do you as a commissioner have a credit card in the name of somebody else? Why do you have that much cash and why do you have other items that obviously do not belong to you?’” said Nick Oberheiden, an attorney with the Oberheiden Law Group.
Different defense attorneys took different approaches during cross examination.
Fain’s attorney Tom Mills asked the FBI if the Bentley belonged to her. The answer -- they didn’t know. Price’s attorneys questioned the chain of custody on some evidence and the time line of some of the alleged offenses.