Even in Death, Ex-Dallas Councilwoman Prominent in New Corruption Plea - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Even in Death, Ex-Dallas Councilwoman Prominent in New Corruption Plea

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    Even in Death, Ex-Dallas Councilwoman Prominent in New Corruption Plea

    A second person has pleaded guilty in federal court to a Dallas City Hall corruption case that also involved Carolyn Davis, the former city council member who, along with her daughter, was killed in a traffic accident last week. (Published Tuesday, July 23, 2019)

    A second person has pleaded guilty in federal court to a Dallas City Hall corruption case that also involved Carolyn Davis, the former city council member who, along with her daughter, was killed in a traffic accident last week.

    Federal court records surfaced on Tuesday, the same day that Davis and her daughter, Melissa, were eulogized, showing that Jerry Scroggins was the go-between in delivering bribes to Davis while she was a councilwoman.

    In early March, Davis pleaded guilty in federal court to accepting about $40,000 in bribes, allegedly from real estate developer Ruel Hamilton, in exchange for her votes on a public housing project that Hamilton stood to benefit from.

    Davis had expected to be the star witness against Hamilton until she and her daughter were killed just over a week ago when their car was struck by an alleged drunk driver.

    The government's case against Hamilton, who has pleaded not guilty to two counts of bribery, is now expected to shift to Scroggins.

    A second witness in the case is expected to be former Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway, now in federal prison for his role in a separate government corruption case.

    Prosecutors say in court records that Hamilton bribed Davis from 2014 to early 2015, the last year she was in office.

    "At the direction of Davis, and in order to disguise and conceal the bribe payments, Hamilton wrote checks payable to Scroggins individually, or to a not-for-profit company named Hip Hop Government, which was owned by Scroggins," the records say.

    "Scroggins, in turn, deposited and cashed Hamilton's checks and transferred the bribe payments to Davis in cash," prosecutors wrote.

    Scroggins has also had dealings in the past with Caraway, before both men became embroiled in corruption.

    That came with Caraway's much-publicized "Pull 'Em Up" campaign, run by Scroggins' Hip Hop Government charity, which encouraged young men to pull up their sagging pants.

    Court records show Scroggins pleaded guilty to "misprision of felony," meaning he was aware that a felony crime was being committed and did not alert law enforcement authorities.

    He faces a maximum of three years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

    The plea agreement says, "The defendant shall give complete and truthful information and/or testimony concerning the defendant's participation in the offense of conviction."

    Hamilton could not be reached for comment.

    His attorneys have argued the charges against their client are a mistake, and they accused the government of staging a misguided trap.

    The developer is scheduled for trial in January, and is represented by Abbe Lowell, the same lawyer that represents President's Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in different matters.

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