Jury Deciding Fate of John Wiley Price Will Regroup for Third Day of Deliberations

The federal jury deciding the bribery and tax evasion case against John Wiley Price concluded its second day of deliberations Thursday without reaching a verdict. The jury will regroup on Friday morning to resume its work. Also on Thursday, prosecutors filed a brief, making their case for seven of the 11 counts against Price that involve deprivation of honest services through mail fraud.U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn indicated on Monday, the day before closing arguments, that she did not think prosecutors proved that the defendants used the U.S. mail as part of their alleged bribery scheme. Price also is charged with bribery and tax evasion. His former political consultant, Kathy Nealy, is also charged with bribery but will be tried later. Dapheny Fain, his chief of staff, is charged with lying to the FBI and helping Price avoid taxes.The mail fraud charges relate to payments Nealy mailed for vehicles she allowed Price to use. But defense lawyers who filed a motion for acquittal on the charges argued there was nothing fraudulent about the mailings themselves because Nealy owned title to the vehicles. Lynn allowed the charges to go to the jury but said she's likely to throw them out after the verdict is read.Assistant U.S. Attorney Leigha Simonton wrote in her legal brief filed Thursday that the car payments were a key part of the stream of benefits Nealy is accused of providing Price for his votes and other official actions. "To secure Price's continued use of the cars during the scheme, the government presented evidence that Nealy mailed car payments," Simonton wrote. "Although her payments totaled many thousands of dollars, it was Price who enjoyed them cost-free."Nealy's car payments helped disguise the fact that Price was the true owner and user of the vehicles, she said."This evidence is more than sufficient for a reasonable jury to find, as required, that the car-payment mailings furthered the bribery scheme," Simonton said.  Continue reading...

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