Ruel Hamilton Corruption Trial Jury Hears Wire Tap Recordings

Prosecution expected to rest Monday

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The jury listened to wiretap recordings Friday on day five of the Ruel Hamilton federal corruption trial in Dallas.

The Dallas developer is accused of paying $40,000 in bribes to deceased former Dallas City Council Member Carolyn Davis and at least $7,000 to convicted former Council Member Dwaine Caraway.

The trial began Monday with jury selection and testimony began Tuesday with Caraway appearing as a witness against Hamilton.

In 2015, evidence showed housing developer Hamilton was seeking City Council approval of a loan and state tax credits for the renovation of his Royal Crest Apartments.

At the time, Davis led the Dallas City Council Housing Committee.

Davis and Hamilton did not know that the FBI was recording their telephone conversations.

The calls include many instances of Davis asking Hamilton for campaign contributions for candidates she was supporting and for money to help her start a consulting business as she left the city council.

But Defense Attorney Abbe Lowell insists the government took remarks out of context and omitted key parts of the story that provide legitimate explanations for Hamilton’s money.

Lead FBI agent Malachi Waples told the jury that the FBI first received corruption accusations about Davis in 2011. 

He said the undercover investigation begin in September 2014 and the wiretaps were recorded from February 2015 to July 2015.  Davis left office in June 2015.

Waples said evidence of the alleged corruption conspiracy dates back to 2013.

In cross-examination, Lowell also questioned the government's proof of alleged wrongdoing from the period before wiretap evidence was available.

Carolyn Davis pleaded guilty in 2019 but was killed four months later by an impaired driver.

The defense has witnesses who say Davis intended to withdraw her guilty plea.

Caraway testified as a witness for the government on Tuesday.

Cross-examination of Waples is expected to continue Monday morning, with at least one more government witness before prosecutors rest their case and the defense begins.

The trial began Monday with jury selection. It was expected to last about three weeks.

Hamilton faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted. He pleaded not guilty.

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