Could a Former Dallas City Council Member's Death Hurt Feds' Bribery Case Against a Developer?

It's a scenario every prosecutor dreads: the death of a key witness. It can cripple a criminal prosecution, or at a minimum, alter trial strategy. That scenario has just occurred in the case of a developer who is accused of bribing Carolyn Davis, a former Dallas City Council member who pleaded guilty to accepting the payments.Davis was killed Monday night when a suspected drunken driver slammed into her car in east Oak Cliff, police said. She was the primary witness against Ruel Hamilton, who was indicted with her in February. Hamilton, through his attorney, has denied the charges, and the trial is currently scheduled for January."That makes it more difficult for the government's case because whatever testimony she had is lost," said Aaron Wiley, a former federal prosecutor who now does criminal defense work. Prosecutors said Davis took $40,000 from Hamilton between November 2013 and June 2015 to get an affordable housing project through the council. Her death has suddenly made former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway more valuable to prosecutors.Caraway is considered an unindicted co-conspirator in the case, referred to in the indictment as "Council Person A." Hamilton's indictment alleges the developer bribed Caraway in August 2018.  Continue reading...

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