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Dallas politician charged by FBI with taking bribes

By Marice Richter

AUSTIN Texas (Reuters) - Dallas County Commissioner and outspoken minority rights community leader John Wiley Price was arrested on Friday by the Federal Bureau of Investigations on graft charges that included taking bribes.

Price, 64 and a Democrat, was charged with 13 counts of criminal activity in an elaborate scheme dating back to 2001 that also included suspected mail fraud and falsifying tax returns.

Price, charged with three co-defendants, entered a not-guilty plea at federal court on Friday and did not speak with reporters. Price, Dallas County's first black commissioner, has denied wrongdoing.

The U.S. government alleges that Price took $950,000 in bribes in cash, cars and property in exchange for favorable votes on the Dallas County Commissioners Court.

FBI agents raided his home and office in 2011 with search warrants alleging theft, bribery and money laundering.

Price has served as a Dallas County Commissioner since 1985, representing a district with a large minority population.

(Reporting by Marice Richter; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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