DALLAS - The government rested its case against Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, but not before getting a harsh reprimand from the judge overseeing the bribery trial.
Prosecutors failed again to share hundreds of documents with Price's defense team. The huge misstep isn't the first for federal prosecutors.
There have now been several times when government attorneys have failed to share evidence with the defense. The judge called the latest lapse terribly inappropriate and disappointing and said it could raise questions about the fairness of the trial.
Price and his attorneys headed into court Tuesday morning knowing prosecutors would be the ones in the hot seat just as they're resting their case against him.
Late Monday afternoon, it was revealed that they'd failed to share more documents with Price's team. The government told the judge it was humanly impossible to keep up with the volume of information. But U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn was not sympathetic, saying the scope of the investigation is their own doing.
Trial watcher Chrysta Castenada says even though the jury wasn't present for the judge's scolding it could still have a big impact.
“The judge is taking an additional step of giving instructions to the jury so that they can understand that the government did not timely produce the documents that they were obligated to produce,” she said. “And it’s giving the impression, not only is it the right of the defense but might be impeding the defense in the case.”
The defense began presenting its case Tuesday afternoon and began with opening arguments from Marlo Cadeddu representing Daphney Fain, Price's co-defendant.
Cadeddu told the jury Fain worked for Price for 22 years and helped Fain by loaning her money for a side business. Fain sat expressionless until the end when it appeared she was wiping away tears.
Fain's attorney filed motions for a mistrial or to dismiss the case. The judge denied those requests but did punish prosecutors by giving the defense a lot more leeway when it comes to introducing the evidence that prosecutors were late to produce.