DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price’s attorney Billy Ravkind said he intends to have his client take the witness stand and testify in his own defense.
“It’s more likely than not that John will testify. I’ve been at three trials with him, and I’ve won all of them. But what really makes a great witness is if he’s innocent,” said Ravkind in his first television interview since Commissioner Price and three others were indicted on federal public corruption charges Friday.
Price, his chief of staff Dapheny Fain, his political consultant Kathy Nealy, and businessman Christian Campbell all pleaded not guilty Friday. Ravkind said Commissioner Price won’t plead guilty and will go to trial.
“I think jurors like to hear from defendants. A lot of times, you run the risk the client will try to be his own lawyer, and that doesn’t work well. So you get him ready, and teach him how to answer a question.”
Prosecutors said for more than ten years, Price helped Nealy’s business clients secure county contracts, and in exchange, Nealy, Fain and Campbell funneled about $1 million in cash, cars, land and rent money to Price.
Ravkind dismissed the government’s 107 page long indictment against his client. “They’ve had to reach pretty hard to turn a lot of things into bribes. It’s not going to work. I think there’s something wrong with the case if it takes 107 pages to explain to people why your client is guilty.”
Legal experts said it doesn’t appear as if prosecutors have wiretapped conversations or undercover video against Price or the other defendants.
“Generally, you’re advised because you’re required to be advised from the government that there’s a wiretap,” according to Ravkind. “When asked if the government told him there was, he said, ‘No’,”
Price’s attorney said he’s also not worried that Fain, Nealy, or Campbell will plead guilty, cooperate with prosecutors, and testify against the commissioner.
Ravkind said Friday’s arrest surprised him, especially considering many defendants charged in white collar crimes are allowed to turn themselves into authorities.
“I thought we had arranged for a voluntary surrender, and somewhere the government didn’t go along with that. Don’t ask me why. He was treated differently because of who he is,” said Ravkind.
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