DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Former FBI agent Don Sherman, once the lead investigator in the John Wiley Price bribery case, returned to the witness stand Wednesday, giving defense lawyers a second chance to question him after prosecutors admitted major mistakes in the county commissioner’s federal trial.
U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn gave defense lawyers a chance to recall Sherman and several other star witnesses for the government after prosecutors acknowledged they broke court rules by not fully sharing with the defense the roles in which Sherman and the other witnesses played in the investigation.
Although angry at the prosecutors, Lynn denied a request for a mistrial from lawyers for Price and his executive assistant, Dapheny Fain, a co-defendant.
Orders from the judge, however, prevented prosecutors from cross-examining Sherman, leaving them with little to do but take notes at their desk during the less than 15 minutes he was on the stand.
Price’s defense opted not to question Sherman, while Fain’s attorney, Tom Mills, did little more than ask when the investigation began (2010), and whether he remembered the use of “pole cameras,” used by the FBI early on to watch Price’s home.
While little attention was given to Sherman, now a stroke victim, Price’s lead lawyer, Shirley Baccus-Lobel, grilled IRS agent Rene Hammett on the witness stand. The judge allowed the defense to recall Hammett, for the same reasons Sherman reappeared, and she and Lobel got into a heated exchange over Millennium 2000 — a Dallas art store where the FBI says Price laundered money he took in bribes.
At times, Hammett would shake her head and chuckle, seemingly in disbelief, over questions Lobel would ask of her.
At one point, attempting to prompt an answer from the tax agent, Lobel said: “C’mon, you can do it.”
Judge Lynn released jurors before lunch, and said they didn’t have to come back until Monday, giving defense lawyers time to research the new material prosecutors have turned over to them.
The government is expected to rest their case as early as Monday.