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Jury Out for Third Day in ‘Bess Mess’ Trial

December 22, 1988

NEW YORK (AP) _ A federal jury on Wednesday worked its way through a third day of deliberations at the divorce-fixing conspiracy trial of former Miss America Bess Myerson without reaching a verdict.

The panel already had deliberated 15 hours over two days when it resumed work Wednesday morning in the case against Miss Myerson; her lover, Carl ″Andy″ Capasso and the judge who made interim decisions in Capasso’s divorce. The jury broke for the night shortly before 7 p.m.

More testimony was read back to the jury, which also requested and received several exhibits relating to the Capasso divorce action.

Miss Myerson, who was Miss America in 1945; Capasso, 43, a one-time city contractor; and former state Supreme Court Justice Hortense Gabel, 76, are charged with plotting to cut Capasso’s temporary support payments to his estranged wife.

All three are charged with conspiracy, mail fraud and promoting bribery. Miss Myerson also is charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly trying to influence the grand jury testimony of the prosecution’s star witness.

Miss Myerson, 64, faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and $513,000 in fines if convicted on all counts. Her two co-defendants face up to 25 years and $263,000 in fines if convicted.

Once the city’s cultural affairs commissioner, Miss Myerson is accused of giving a $19,000-a-year city job to Mrs. Gabel’s daughter, Sukhreet Gabel, to influence her mother, who was making interim rulings in Capasso’s bitter divorce from his wife, Nancy.

Miss Myerson also is accused of trying to influence Ms. Gabel’s grand jury testimony.

The prosecution’s case consisted of mainly circumstantial evidence because there were no witnesses to the alleged bribe scheme.

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