A jury that has spent nine days deliberating fraud charges against fallen media tycoon Conrad Black and three other executives said it was deadlocked Tuesday but resumed trying to reach a verdict at a judge?s urging.
U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve briefly called the jurors, who sought her advice, into her courtroom and told them they must make ?every reasonable effort? to reach a unanimous decision in the closely watched trial. The jurors returned to their work, then recessed for the day.
The jurors? note, read to the court by St. Eve, said: ?We have discussed and deliberated on all the evidence and are still unable to reach a unanimous verdict on one or more counts. Please advise.?
The note was signed by the jury foreman and ended with: ?P.S. We have read the jury instructions very carefully.?
Black and three other defendants are accused of swindling shareholders in the Hollinger International Inc. newspaper empire ? former owner of the Chicago Sun-Times ? out of more than $60 million. Black faces 13 criminal counts, including mail fraud, wire fraud and racketeering.
The trial began March 20. In total, the jurors are considering 42 counts against the four individuals and had available for review thousands of pages of factual documents about newspaper sales.
Black, 62, a member of the British House of Lords, faces a maximum penalty of 101 years in federal prison if convicted on all counts against him, although lawyers said a sentence anywhere near that stiff was unrealistic.
After St. Eve read the jurors? note but before she called them back into the courtroom, Ronald Safer ? an attorney for defendant Mark Kipnis ? said the judge should accept that the jury was unable to reach a verdict. He later told reporters outside of court that he was not calling for a mistrial.