No Verdict in Ring Case; Jurors Break for Weekend
U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle this afternoon sent home jurors deliberating in the public corruption trial of former lobbyist Kevin Ring. They are set to return Tuesday morning, according to a court spokeswoman.Jurors have been huddled since Monday deciding the fate of the second case to challenge the government’s charges stemming from its investigation of ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff.Ring, a former aide to then-Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.) and then-Sen. John Ashcroft (R-Mo.), faces eight counts of violating federal laws, including paying gratuities and conspiracy to commit fraud for providing gifts to public officials in exchange for official acts.The break in deliberations follows the disclosure Thursday that jurors were given information about a plea agreement with a Ring associate, Robert Coughlin, a former Justice Department official. Any references to the plea agreement were supposed to be removed by Justice Department prosecutors from court files given to jurors.Huvelle denied a request for a mistrial by Ring’s attorneys.