The deliberations restarted today after a three day layoff.
Looking back, one juror ended up dismissed because of illness.
Another had to attend a funeral one day. One alternate juror forced deliberations to start over on the second day.
Last Friday “Juror #5” left the panel for a prepaid vacation the Judge, David M. Lawson, promised to allow her to go on before the trial started.
It was anticipated the trial would be over by now. It’s not, and so the jury limps along now with only 11 members.
It is legal, and really makes sense considering starting over deliberations from scratch, yet again, with another alternate juror seemed to make little sense to the judge or the attorneys or the jurors. For them the month long trial has been a grueling. Most of the crimes Ferguson faces have to do with complicated business transactions. He is charged with big rigging in order to get a twelve million dollar construction contract for a federal housing project in Detroit. But it’s not called “bid rigging."
Instead he is charged with “financial structuring” and defrauding the government along with money laundering, lying to federal officers and a couple of weapons charges. Ferguson is a convicted felon and it is illegal for him to have firearms. Two handguns were found in Ferguson’s Guardian Building office downtown when the feds raided it in 2010. One in a safe only Ferguson had the combination to and the other in a desk drawer in his office behind a locked door inside a locked office. The feds say Ferguson attempted to have one of his employees claim ownership of one of the guns.
Download:Bobby Ferguson Indictment
Download:Ferguson Search Warrant
When jurors were in the courtroom last Friday, their body language showed fatigue and frustration.
There are some members who do not understand “financial structuring” and asked the judge to explain that and other intricacies of the law. Other jurors were rolling their eyes; one had his head in his hand throughout the session, obviously rankled over the deliberations’ glacial pace.
This is not going smoothly and the judge sensed it.
The jury said it had unanimously agreed on some counts in the case that involves Ferguson, two of his employees and three of his companies and are deadlocked on others. They asked the judge what they should do, he encouraged them to push on and get unanimous verdicts on all the charges. So, they’ve had a three day weekend and it’s back to the salt mine. Local Four will be at the courthouse today all day and will have updates when and if there is any action.