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Jurors Hit a Snag in Edwards’ Trial

April 26, 2000

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) _ Jurors deliberating whether former Gov. Edwin Edwards and six others extorted millions of dollars suggested in a note Wednesday that there is disagreement over at least one of the charges in the complex case.

The judge told them to move on to a different charge.

``We are not able to reach an agreement on any of what we are working on. At what point do we give up and go to another charge?″ jurors said in a note to the judge in their second day of deliberations.

There was no indication which part of the indictment the note referred to. However, the first of the 26 counts against Edwards involved six alleged racketeering acts that the jurors must consider individually.

Edwards and his six co-defendants are accused of taking part in or aiding a series of extortion plots involving the licensing of riverboat casinos. The indictment has scores of counts.

U.S. District Judge Frank Polozola called the jurors into open court and told them they could deliberate on any charge they want and do not have to follow the order in which they are set down on the verdict form.

Former U.S. Attorney Harry Rosenberg said the note was a good sign for the defendants.

``The defendants’ attorneys may not be out buying champagne but they should be out drinking a cold beer,″ he said.

Edwards’ federal racketeering trial started Jan. 10 and deliberations began Monday afternoon. Jurors deliberated for 5 1/2 hours Wednesday before breaking shortly before 2 p.m. so one juror could take his wife to a doctor’s appointment.

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