Taxpayers to Pay Some of John Wiley Price's Defense

Judge orders Price to make payments for his new lawyer

A federal judge on Friday appointed an attorney at taxpayer expense for indicted Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price but at the same time ordered Price to contribute $80,000 and make $500 monthly payments.

Judge Renee Harris Toliver’s decision was revealed on the federal court’s website. In an unusual move, no notice was given for Friday's public hearing.

The judge appointed attorney Shirley Baccus-Lobel to represent Price. Attorney Billy Ravkind, who had worked for Price since before his indictment last summer, apparently is no longer involved in the case.

Ravkind did not answer his telephone Friday afternoon.

Baccus-Lobel, 69, a one-time federal prosecutor who had been assisting with Price's defense, did not immediately return a call.

According to the court file, Price must pay $20,000 by next week and then make payments of $10,000 every two months between May 2015 and March 2016 for a total of $60,000. Price also must pay $500 per month through his trial, which is set for January 2016.

In previous hearings, prosecutors had opposed using taxpayer funds for Price’s attorney, pointing out he had $60,000 in a campaign account, owned a second house where a relative lived rent-free, and continued to earn more than $100,000 a year as commissioner.

Price is accused of taking $950,000 in bribes and was indicted in July 2014 after a long FBI investigation. Three others also are accused in the case.

Kathy Colvin, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office, said she could not comment beyond what was posted on the court’s website.

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