DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The defense attorneys for Commissioner John Wiley Price and associate Daphne Fain are concerned about a possible surveillance camera Fain claims to have seen in her backyard but failed to retrieve.
Billy Ravkind, Price’s lead attorney, hasn’t seen the camera but said Fain told him and her attorney that the camera was found high in the crook of a tree near her backyard garage.
She didn’t remove it, she said, but a day later someone else had.
So who put it there?
“It’s either got to be the government or the media; those are the only two I can think of,” he said. “If I had to take a guess, I didn’t get punished if I was wrong, I would guess it was the government.”
Fain’s lawyer, Tom Mills, said it was a small, box-like camera and he is horrified Fain didn’t retrieve it so it could be examined.
Fain, Price and political consultant Kathy Nealy all had search warrants served on them last month in connection with an FBI probe of alleged money laundering, bribery, and tax evasion.
No one has been charged.
Still, Ravkind worries about where the investigation might be going.
“I’m concerned about electronic surveillance or wiretap,” he said.
Matt Orwig, a former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, agrees that Ravkind should be concerned.
“I’d be surprised if there’s not a wiretap involved in this case,” he said.
He points out legal electronic surveillance was done in the Don Hill, Dallas City Hall probe and adds, “That’s an extraordinary step in an investigation and needs to be supported by ‘probable cause.’”
Ravkind stopped short of outright accusing federal investigators. Still, he said, “ I’m probably hoping it is the government, because it’s really a major screw-up. Major.”
The Dallas FBI won’t comment on the ongoing investigation. Neither will the U.S. Attorney’s office. Ravkind claims he personally knows the FBI officials conducting the investigation.
“I happen to know the people involved but that wouldn’t be what I know about them,” He said. “But I’ve been wrong before.”