After establishing that John Wiley Price received close to a million dollars in cash, cars, and property from lobbyist Kathy Nealy, prosecutors on Monday worked to show what political favors the county commissioner allegedly gave in return.
The trial entered its third week with prosecutors presenting evidence to show Price routinely intervened in the bidding process by sharing highly confidential information. Prosecutors said that information in turn helped a technology company called Unisys to adjust its bid in order to try to win a county contract.
Courtroom observer and attorney Nick Oberheiden said prosecutors still have some important dots to connect.
"However the question that is still open is why did Commissioner Price personally intervene, why did he share confidential information? The government in my opinion has done a great job so far in showing Commissioner Price breeched protocol. However, the causation the piece that shows his intervention impacted decision making process, I think that piece is still missing."
A technology company executive also testified about a lunch meeting between Unysis, Price, and Nealy during a period when county policy prohibits commissioners from meeting with companies bidding for county contracts.
Two executives for different vendors testified Monday that they did not know Nealy was giving money to price at the time or they would not have worked with her. While companies paying lobbyists to get influence is not unusual, what would be unusual and illegal is for a lobbyist to be paying a county official for influence.
The court also learned Monday that the judge happens to be a big fan of the movie "My Cousin Vinny" and Monday was that movie's 25th anniversary. The judge told the jury that she authorized them to watch that movie.
While the movie is a comedy, it is actually well known in legal circles for Vinny's courtroom strategies.