Art gallery owner's testimony good for John Wiley Price

The first person who accepted a deal from the government in exchange for testimony in the John Wiley Price corruption trial testified in court on Monday.

Price sold African art through Karen Manning's "Millennium 2000" art gallery. Her tax fraud charge is connected to money she did not report from the sale of Price's art work. But nothing in her testimony spoke to her knowing of Price conspiring to do anything illegal.

“I really think the government’s witness, Miss Manning, turned out to be a defense witness,” said attorney Nick Oberheiden, who’s observing the trial.

Manning testified that Price sold African art he owned in her gallery and she took a fee from each item sold from the so-called "John Wiley Priceless Collection."

Manning admitted Price did everything he could to promote and help her and that she hosted Price’S birthday parties and campaign fundraisers. But she denied the art gallery was a front for any money laundering or hiding money from the IRS.

In cross-examination, defense attorney Shirley Baccus Lobel asked Manning, "The government's trying to suggest your businesses are his businesses, you understand that, right?

Manning: "Yes.”

Lobel: “That would be false?”

Manning: “Correct.”

“I think the government has the right to be disappointed,” Oberheiden said. “What we heard today was a witness essentially neutralizing the government’s case by repeatedly affirming that she's not aware that Commissioner Price has done anything wrong.”

Manning admitted to not reporting more than $250,000, tied mostly to the sale of Price's art work between 2007 and 2010

In exchange for her testimony against Price, the deal she agreed to sends her to federal prison for no more than three years with a fine of $100,000.