John Wiley Price took off his blue hat and smiled as he walked into the spacious southern Dallas church Sunday morning. The congregants stood in respect.
“We want you to know your family supports you 100 percent,” bellowed the Rev. Bishop Jeffery Thomas in Mount Rose Baptist Church.
The longtime Dallas County commissioner is a regular there, but this was his first visit since his public corruption trial started last week.
On Monday, it will be Price who stands out of respect — in the federal courtroom — as the jurors who will decide his fate file into their box. From the defendant’s table, he will listen to prosecutors lay out their case that Price took nearly $1 million in bribes, selling his office to enrich himself. He will watch witnesses testify — the first of many, in a trial that could last four months. If convicted of all charges, Price, 66, is likely to face decades in prison.
But on Sunday, Price basked in the adoration of his supporters, who promised to pray for him. Women hugged him. Men shook his hand.
As the son and father of preachers, Price says he’s always considered church a crucial part of his week. Lately, he goes to three churches each Sunday, and even more during the week for constituent funerals. He says he draws encouragement and power from connecting with his people, and with God. And it’s never bad politics to be visible; he credits his churchgoing with helping him win election nine times since 1984.
“We call it a charging station,” Price said. “I come to get charged up so I can make it through the week, with all the stuff I deal with.”
SOURCE: Dallas Morning News – Naomi Martin