Ken Kalthoff, NBC 5 News
Dallas County Commissioner's Court voted Tuesday to keep barriers between the public, reporters and the court.
The ropes will remain. Tuesday morning, The Dallas County Commissioner's Court voted to maintain a barrier between the court and the public.
The security measure went up, after details of the FBI's investigation into Commissioner John Wiley Price surfaced earlier this month.
The court was split 3-2 on the decision. The controversial commissioner had the tie-breaking vote. Right now, John Wiley Price is not speaking out about the serious federal allegations he's facing. Price also didn't comment about the court's vote not to remove the belt barrier that's been protecting Price from reporters.
Price rushed into the commissioner's court building this morning without answering questions from NBC 5. It's the best access we've had to Price, since FBI documents revealed more about allegations of corruption: money laundering, bribery and hiding assets.
At the commissioner's meetings the past two weeks, belt barriers have blocked access from the media and the public to Price until after he left the room.
"The ropes are not a rule, they're a tool," said County Judge Clay Jenkins. Jenkins claims the ropes maintain control inside of the court, keeping the feds investigation into Price out of the spotlight.
"We don't live in a vacuum, but it's my job to make sure whenever we're in that courtroom, we're focused on the business of Dallas County.
Other commissioners feel Price doesn't deserve any special protection.
"We've been here 18 years. We've never had to have ropes, we shouldn't have to have ropes," says District 2 Commissioner Mike Cantrell.
"The blocking of the news media is to protect Mr. Price. I think Mr. Price's friends are trying to keep him from facing the news media," says District 1 Commissioner Maurine Dickey.
Price has not been charged with any crime. If he is, Judge Jenkins says it will ultimately be up to the judge hearing that case whether to remove Price from his seat on the court.