Sept. 2, 2014
The jury in the McDonnell corruption trial could not reach verdict after a little over five hours of deliberation Tuesday, so court has adjourned for the day.
The jury has a lot of evidence to sift through, including hundreds of emails and text messages, and testimony from 67 witnesses.
Taking into account the instructions laid out by Judge Spencer about what constitutes an official act, and whether the McDonnells knowingly conspired to sell the governor’s office and it's influence in exchange for gifts and loans from businessman Jonnie Williams, they must also vote unanimously on each of the 14 charges against Bob and Maureen McDonnell.
The jury will return tomorrow morning to pick up where they left off.
A jury of seven men and five women began deliberating in the federal corruption trial of former governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen Tuesday afternoon. Leaving the Richmond courthouse a few minutes after noon, Bob McDonnell walked arm-in-arm with his son, Bobby, telling reporters, "I've been part of the criminal justice system for 38 years and the system usually gets it right".
Jurors spent the morning listening to the judge recite nearly ninety pages of instructions for each of the 14 charges against the McDonnells. The former first couple is accused of accepting $177,000 in gifts and loans in exchange for lending the prestige of the governor's office to Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams. Central to the case is how the judge directed the jury to define "official acts", which the judge said includes acts "that a public official customarily performs". The defense objected to that definition several times, including Tuesday morning before jurors were brought into the courtroom.
The jury was also instructed to weigh more carefully the testimony of witnesses that have received immunity, which includes uses Williams, who's testimony is key to the government's case. The judge instructed jurors they "can take into account a person's character when considering reasonable doubt", which could be favorable to Bob McDonnell's defense.
The jury most vote unanimously on each charge before the verdict can be read. If no verdict is reached by 5:30 p.m. The jury will return Wednesday morning to continue deliberations. Follow CBS19 for the latest developments from the courtroom.
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