Dwaine Caraway started the week as one of Dallas’ most powerful elected officials.
He ended it as an admitted conspirator who will help the government further unravel a criminal enterprise that cost taxpayers millions of dollars, and shuttered a state agency – Dallas County Schools.
“I would expect that his plea agreement was that he would cooperate fully on anything the government desires to know,” former FBI agent Don Southerland said in an interview with NBC 5 Investigates.
It was revealed this week that Caraway pleaded guilty to federal criminal conspiracy charges, acknowledging he took more than $450,000 in bribes from a Louisiana man who needed his help in selling surveillance cameras to Dallas County Schools, or DCS.
Now facing time in federal prison, Caraway resigned this week from the Dallas City Council, surrendering his role as mayor pro tem.
Asked if Caraway may now help prosecutors learn about crimes that went beyond DCS, Southerland said: “Absolutely yes.”
And that, the former agent said, could make things uneasy for anyone else who may have been involved in the corruption, referenced simply as “others” in the court documents that detail Caraway’s plea agreement.
Caraway is one of four to plead guilty so far, including former DCS superintendent Rick Sorrells, camera company owner Bob Leonard, and Leonard’s close associate, Slater Swartwood Sr.
The roundup has been done in FBI-textbook style, Southerland said.
“So you have the people receiving bribes (and) the people paying bribes, all telling the same story,” he said, adding, “It’s going to be hard for anyone else who paid or received bribes to claim a different avenue on it.”
After years of political prominence, Caraway’s downfall came quick, both surprising and angering the only person who surpassed him in stature at City Hall - Mayor Mike Rawlings.
“Okay, so I am speaking professionally here. I am mad as hell. I’m indignant,” Rawlings told NBC 5, adding:
“Anytime anyone tarnishes this city, it’s a terrible, terrible thing. And I’m very disappointed.”