The William Jefferson Chronicles

UPDATE: William Jefferson jury completes fourth day without verdict
by Bruce Alpert, The Times-Picayune
Tuesday August 04, 2009, 3:15 PM

ALEXANDRIA, VA. -- The jury in former Democratic Congressman William Jefferson's bribery and corruption trial has completed a fourth day of deliberations without reaching a verdict.

Jurors concluded the day about 90 minutes early to accommodate the schedule of one of their members. They will return Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.

There was some courtroom action today as Judge T.S. Ellis and lawyers in the case held two brief bench conferences in the morning to deal with a question from the jury that has not been made public.

The court reporter said the transcript of the conferences was not available because it is "under seal."

Ellis recessed after the conference, saying only that there was a matter that needed to be addressed. Defense attorneys and prosecutors returned to the courthouse about five minutes before 3 p.m. Washington time.

Ellis addressed routine matters in the afternoon session, asking the attorneys whether they anticipated making post-verdict arguments in a possible forfeiture proceedings in the event that Jefferson is convicted on some of the counts. He also asked whether the lawyers thought the jury should be provided a transcript of his jury instructions. Jurors had initially asked for a copy of the instructions, but then said they were not needed.

In the morning conference, Ellis at one point could be seen writing something and Jefferson whispered something to his attorney Robert Trout. No one would comment after the meetings.

Prosecutors left the court after the first conference and both sides returned about 15 minutes later.

Jefferson is charged in a 16-count indictment with soliciting bribes and other crimes in which prosecutors say he helped American businesses broker deals in West African in exchange for payments or financial considerations to companies controlled by members of his family, including his brother Mose, his wife, Andrea, their five daughters and a son-in-law.

Jefferson's lawyers say he was acting as private businessman and is not subject to the bribery statutes in question.

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