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Entries in deliberations (5)

Monday
May212012

John Edwards Jury Looking at 'Bunny' Money as Deliberations Continue

Sara D. Davis/Getty Images(GREENSBORO, N.C.) -- The jury in John Edwards' campaign finance trial begins its second day of deliberations Monday morning in Greensboro, N.C.

The panel of eight men and four women spent about five hours behind closed doors on Friday as they began to weigh the evidence presented over nearly four weeks of testimony.

Shortly after they retired to the jury room on Friday, the jurors sent out a note to Judge Catherine Eagles, requesting a number of trial exhibits related to money provided by Virginia heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon in 2007.

The government alleges in count two of a six-count indictment that Edwards and his former aide Andrew Young illegally solicited hundreds of thousands of dollars from Mellon as part of the effort to hide his pregnant mistress, Rielle Hunter, during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary campaign.  Count three of the indictment contains similar allegations, but is focused on checks Mellon wrote in January 2008, shortly before Edwards ended his quest for the nomination.

Among the exhibits the jury requested is a letter Mellon wrote in April 2007 that is sometimes referred to as the "haircut" letter.  Mellon wrote the letter to Young, shortly after the press had seized on the news that Edwards had charged a $400 haircut to his campaign.

"I was sitting alone in a grim mood -- furious that the press had attacked Sen. Edwards on the price of a hair cut," Mellon's handwritten note reads.  "From now on, all hair cuts, etc., that are a necessary and important part of his campaign, please send the bills to me.  It is a way to help our friend without government restrictions."

Within six weeks of that letter, Mellon began writing a series of personal checks that would eventually add up to $725,000 over seven months.  The jury also requested copies of the first two of those checks, which were funnelled to Young through an intermediary and eventually deposited in an account in the maiden name of Young's wife, Cheri.

Edwards' defense team has argued that Young was taking advantage of Mellon, bilking her out of the money with the pretense that it was for Edwards.  They noted that the vast majority of Mellon's money went to Young and his wife, who used much of it to fund the construction of their $1.6 million home.

After the jury's request on Friday, an Edwards lawyer told a clutch of reporters in the courtroom that the deliberations could take a while.  The jury appears, at least at the outset, to be taking a meticulous, count-by-count approach to their discussions.

Edwards is charged with conspiracy, accepting illegal campaign contributions and making false statements.  If convicted on all six counts, he faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar152012

Rutgers Jury Ends First Day of Deliberations Without Verdict

ABC News(NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.) -- The jury in the trial of former Rutgers student Dharun Ravi completed its first day of deliberations on Wednesday without reaching a verdict on charges that he spied on his gay roommate Tyler Clementi.

Ravi, 20, is charged with multiple counts of invasion of privacy, tampering with evidence and bias intimidation -- a hate crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison -- for allegedly using his webcam to spy on Clementi with another man in their shared Rutgers dorm room just weeks into their freshman year.

It's a case that has generated 17 months of intense media attention after Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge in September 2010.

If convicted of the most serious charges, Ravi, an Indian citizen who grew up in New Jersey, could also be deported.

The jury of seven women and five men asked the judge for guidance on New Jersey's bias intimidation law shortly after beginning deliberations.  The issue of bias intimidation is the most serious charges against Ravi, which is required for a conviction of a hate crime.

The jurors deciding Ravi's fate range from young people in their 20s to grandparents in their 70s.  One is the mother of a 20-year-old who enjoys playing Frisbee, sharing Ravi's age and interest.  One is a freelance writer who is single and without any children, and another young juror said he still plays X-Box games in his free time.

In helping to select the jury for the defense, Joshua Dubin, a nationally renowned lawyer and legal consultant, told ABC News that he hoped the younger jurors can "educate the rest of the jury" about the mechanics of Twitter, Facebook and iChat since several pieces of key evidence involve Ravi's online posts about viewing his roommate on his webcam.

The defense team also sought jurors who would not be afraid of public backlash if they came to a "not guilty" verdict in a case that has captured the nation's attention.  Dubin cited the controversial 2011 Casey Anthony acquittal as a recent example of the pressures a juror might face.

He predicts a verdict from the jury by Friday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep232011

Jury to Deliberate in Florida Millionaire's Murder Trial

Comstock/Thinkstock(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- After multiple outbursts in court this week, millionaire developer James Robert "Bob" Ward chose to stay silent when asked if he wanted to take the stand in the trial where he is accused of shooting and killing his wife.

Diane Ward, 55, was found dead in the Isleworth, Fla., home she shared with the wealthy land developer in September 2009.  Ward, 63, is accused of shooting her at point blank range.

The defense team has argued that a combination of high amounts of alcohol along with depression medication caused Diane Ward to become suicidal, leading her husband to grab the gun from her hand.

In closing arguments Thursday, Ward's attorney Kirk Kirkconnell presented the defense's claim -- that his client was trying to prevent his wife from killing herself when the gun went off.

"We don't know if it was a suicide or not, and we don't know what her intentions were when she took that gun," Kirkconnell told the court.

Prosecutors disagree, and argue that Ward, in a fit of rage, intentionally shot his wife in the face.

"This is about a dead woman and the laws of the state of Florida," the prosecution said.

The jury is expected to begin deliberations Friday.

If convicted, Ward could face more than 20 years in prison.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul052011

Casey Anthony Trial: No Verdict on First Day of Deliberations

Red Huber-Pool/Getty Images(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Jurors in the Casey Anthony trial ended their first day of deliberations on Monday without a verdict as they decide the fate of the Florida woman accused of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

Anthony is charged with the first degree murder of her daughter and could face the death penalty if convicted.  She sat stone-faced as the judge instructed the jury.

They will resume deliberations at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

On Monday, Judge Belvin Perry instructed jurors how to proceed in their deliberations.  He gave jurors the option of finding her guilty of a lesser crime such as second degree murder, manslaughter or third degree felony murder.  Those crimes do not carry a death sentence.

Along with the first degree murder charge, Anthony faces charges of aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter and four charges of lying to law enforcement.

Closing arguments ended Monday with the prosecution telling jurors that the death of little Caylee is no mystery.  They painted Casey Anthony as a pathological liar who diverted attention away from herself by claiming her dead daughter, Caylee, had been kidnapped.

During the state's rebuttal to the defense's closing argument, Prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick played portions of jailhouse tapes of Casey Anthony lying about her daughter being kidnapped by a fictional nanny and the 911 call made by Casey Anthony's mother, Cindy Anthony, to report Caylee missing.  The evidence was meant to show how Casey Anthony continued to spin a web of lies about Caylee's whereabouts even when she was given the chance to tell the truth to her family and authorities.

The prosecution concluded its rebuttal by showing a picture of a hard-partying Casey Anthony and the tattoo that the young mom got on her back following Caylee's disappearance.  The tattoo read "Bella Vita," Italian for the beautiful life.

Prosecutor Drane Burdick sought to debunk defense attorney Jose Baez's closing argument that Caylee accidentally drowned in the Anthony family pool and that Casey Anthony's lies during the 31 days she knew her daughter was dead were a bizarre coping mechanism.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul042011

Casey Anthony Trial: Jury Deliberations Underway

Red Huber-Pool/Getty Images(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Jurors in the Casey Anthony trial have begun deliberating the fate of the Florida woman accused of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

Anthony is charged with the first degree murder of her daughter and could face the death penalty if convicted. She sat stone-faced as the judge instructed the jury.

Judge Belvin Perry instructed jurors how to proceed in their deliberations. He gave jurors the option of finding her guilty of a lesser crime such as second degree murder, manslaughter or third degree felony murder. Those crimes do not carry a death sentence.

Along with the first degree murder charge, Anthony faces charges of aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter and four charges of lying to law enforcement.

Prosecutors in the Casey Anthony trial on Monday presented their rebuttal to the defense's closing arguments, reasserting that forensic evidence links Casey Anthony to the murder of her two-year-old daughter, Caylee.

Prosecutor Jeff Ashton said it was "absurd" for the defense to argue that Caylee accidentally drowned in the family pool and that George Anthony, Casey Anthony's father, helped dispose of the body.

"Any way you slice it...Casey Anthony is guilty of murder in the first degree in this case," Ashton said.

The prosecution argues that Casey Anthony chose to sacrifice her daughter to be free of the restraints of young motherhood.

The prosecution also poked holes in the defense's claims that George Anthony had anything to do with Caylee's death and that he tried to implicate his daughter to deflect blame from himself.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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