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John Wiley Price Corruption Trial Off To A Rocky Start

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The federal corruption trial of longtime Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price is underway, but it got off to a rocky start this morning. Right off the bat, one of the female jurors had a "serious health issue" and had to go to the hospital.

Ten women, two men and four alternate jurors had been chosen to decide the fate of Price. Now the number of alternates has been reduced to three.

The remaining jurors were sworn in around 9:30 a.m. and given a number of instructions including not discussing the case, reading about it in newspapers or online or watching details on television news.

After the swearing in a prosecutor set about reading the indictment against Price, which consists of more than 100 pages. Once the charges are read in their entirety attorneys will each have two hours to give opening statements.

Nearly six years after his home was first raided by federal authorities prosecutors are hoping they can finally lay out their case against Price.

Fifteen people will spend then next several months in a Dallas courtroom; listening to prosecutor's paint a picture of a politician who they say is corrupt and took bribes for votes.

Commissioner Price, who is facing charges for bribery, mail fraud and tax evasion, says he's innocent.

Jurors for the federal corruption trial were chosen Tuesday. The group is prepared to be at the Earle Cabell Federal Courthouse for a while. As it stands, Chief U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn has marked the calendar for the trial to run through June 30.

Southern Methodist University political science professor Dr. Cal Jillson says jurors lives, in and out of the courtroom, will not be easy. "It's going to be very complicated. A lot of the evidence will be detailed, financial transactions, land deals, all kinds of things. But the thing is that people will be separated from their families and from their communities and from their normal pattern of life for up to four months."

Prosecutors say Price took more than $900,000 in cash, cars and land in exchange for his commissioner's court vote in favor of business operators. His assistant and co-defendant, Dapheny Fain, is accused of helping him. She is being tried alongside Price.

The trial is expected to be very in-depth, with prosecutors presenting FBI evidence spanning more than a decade.

Price, who has been Dallas County Commissioner for 32 years and still holds the position, just won re-election in November.

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