Cole's attorney, Ronald Kaye, said the jury's behavior suggested "coercion and intimidation" that throws the guilty verdicts into question.
Attorney Shepard Kopp, who represented Jacobo, said the jury's conduct is "tremendous legal grounds for motion for a new trial."
Prosecutors charged the officials with misappropriating public funds by exceeding pay limits established in state law and the city's own charter. The prosecution had argued that the six defendants overpaid themselves by sitting on city boards and authorities that did little work and that council members in a city the size of Bell can only legally earn an annual salary of $8,076.
The defendants drew pay for serving on four boards, boosting their salaries to up to $100,000 a year, among the highest in the state for part-time council members. Defense attorneys maintained that their clients labored tirelessly for the community on nights and weekends and could receive additional compensation for work outside meetings. They also placed the blame for the scandal on Lee and on Rizzo, saying the city administrator manipulated the unsuspecting council members. Rizzo, who earned nearly $800,000 a year, and his deputy Angela Spaccia go on trial later this year.
After reaching verdicts on some counts Wednesday, the jury began deliberations on the remaining charges Thursday.
Four jurors had indicated that they believed the remaining counts could be decided with more direction from the court.
An anonymous juror sent a note to Kennedy saying: "I have been debating in my own mind that due to the pressure and stress of the deliberation process the jury may have given an improper verdict of guilty."
Kennedy received a similar note from a juror Wednesday, though it was unclear whether that came from the same juror.
Defense attorneys asked to find out who wrote the most recent note and demanded further inquiry. Kennedy denied the attorneys' request.
There were indications early on of heated jury deliberations.
The panel got the case Feb. 22. A few days later, one juror tearfully complained that the others were picking on her. She later told Kennedy she had gone online "looking to see at what point can I get the harassment to stop. … How long do I have to stay in there and deliberate with them when I have made my decision."
Kennedy dismissed her for misconduct.
The judge replaced her with an alternate juror and told the panel to begin deliberations from scratch. The jury later had multiple questions about the law and made requests for read-back of testimony. It appeared they were grappling with the task of determining whether the salaries, while excessive, were legal. They also had questions about jury instructions.
Last week, the jury requested a read-back of testimony regarding one defendant's pay as well as the city clerk's testimony about slipping doctored contracts into a stack of papers to be signed by the mayor.
The end came Thursday afternoon after Kennedy received more juror notes.
"It seems to me all hell has broken loose," she said. "I'm going to bring them out now."
Once the jurors returned to the courtroom, she said: "I'm getting the sense that the lines of communication have broken down between each and every one of you. You've got to decide whether continuing to deliberate makes sense in terms of how you are functioning as a jury."
After less than half an hour of additional deliberations, the jury informed Kennedy they were hopelessly deadlocked. The jury foreman said the panel was divided 9 to 3 for guilty on the remaining charges.
Times staff writers Jeff Gottlieb, Kate Mather, Abby Sewell and Samantha Schaefer contributed to this report.