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John Wiley Price Corruption Trial Officially Underway

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DALLAS (CBS11) - When the U.S. Government offers its opening statement to an empaneled jury of 15 people inside the Earle Cabell Federal Courthouse next Monday, lawyers will lay out an accusation of criminal conspiracy of funneling funds for favors over a 10-year period against the longest serving elected official in Dallas County.

Commissioner John Wiley Price spent years teaming with a high profile consultant in a scheme to pass hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, vehicles and real estate to him through her, according to the 13-count indictment naming Price, Kathy Nealy and Price's office assistant Dapheny Fain.

Thursday, lawyers with the U.S Attorneys Office read the 107-page indictment against Price and the others.

Among the offenses, the government claimed Nealy and Price concocted an access for assets operation, dating back to 2001.

Several businesses seeking multi-million dollar contacts for digitizing County Clerk records, computer technical support or seeking Dallas County clearance into Dallas' Free Trade Zone, according to prosecutors, would contract the services of Nealy as lobbyist or consultant.

As payments were made to Nealy, the government alleges she would funnel some proceeds to Price.

Prosecutors allege Price received $950,000 in cash, vehicles and real estate purchases, provided by Nealy. The government's indictment does not name any business allegedly tied to the conspiracy.

However, there are more than 100 corporate, civic and private individuals tied to Dallas business enterprise who are listed as potential witnesses in the case.

Monday's opening statements may list some of those individuals.

The ten women and five men who represent the jury have been told the case will take four months. Thursday, one juror was hospitalized before proceedings began. Judge Barbara Lynn removed her from the jury of 16.

The court will not distinguish between actual jurists and alternates, and Judge Lynn did not replace the ill juror.

Race, affirmative action and minority contracting of government bids were all discussed during jury selection.

Price, Nealy and Fain are African-American. There are four African-Americans seated in the jury.

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