Jury retires for night; set to resume deliberations Sunday morning

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Jury deliberations ended Saturday evening in another day of the corruption trial of State Sen. Jane Orie.

The jury retired for the night around 8 p.m. They will resume deliberations Sunday at 9 a.m.

Earlier in the day, the lawyers were summoned to the courtroom just after 6 p.m. That’s when the jury told the judge that they had reached an impasse and asked for guidance.

Allegheny County Judge Jeffrey Manning told them to try again and deliberations then resumed.

“Great reluctance that would normally constitute a mistrial,” said Bill Costopoulos, the defense attorney. “The truth of the matter is I don’t know that anybody wants a mistrial. We’ve been here four weeks. This is the second time in two years we’ve been here four weeks and a mistrial would allow a re-prosecution for the third time, and I can tell you, I don’t think anybody wants that. Certainly not the defense.”

But as Orie went back and forth to the courthouse Saturday, there were indications the case might not end up in a mistrial.

During the session where the jury told the judge they couldn’t agree on a verdict, one juror asked the judge if there could be verdicts only on the counts they agree on.

And in effect the judge said yes – guilty or not guilty – as long as they all agree on the individual verdict.

There are 24 counts on charges including theft of services – that she used state office staff to perform campaign work on state time, perjury and forgery. Prosecutors say she altered documents to cover up the theft of services issues.

The defense argues some documents were forged, but she didn’t do it.

It was also clear jurors were struggling emotionally. One juror, during a smoke break in the courtyard and during the session with the judge, seemed to be in tears.

The jury deliberated into the late hours of Friday as well, retiring just before 11 p.m. without a verdict. They resumed Saturday morning.

Deliberations have been ongoing since Thursday afternoon following closing arguments.

The jury is being sequestered until a verdict is reached.

Deliberations To Resume In Orie Corruption Trial (3/23/12)
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