Bell corruption trial: Still no verdict after 17 days

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Jurors in the Bell corruption trial adjourned Tuesday, again without a verdict in the trial of six former council members accused of raiding the small town’s treasury by pulling down extraordinary salaries.

Wednesday will mark the 18th day of deliberations -- nearly the same length of the testimony in the trial.

Since being handed the case Feb. 22, the panel appears to have struggled to determine whether Luis Artiga, Victor Bello, George Cole, Oscar Hernandez, Teresa Jacobo and George Mirabal misappropriated public funds by taking salaries of up to $100,000, beefed up by serving on city boards and authorities that rarely met.

Hernandez, Jacobo and Mirabal face 20 counts while Bello faces 16. Artiga faces 12 counts; Cole has eight. All face prison time if convicted.


Legal experts say the general rule of thumb when it comes to deliberations tends to be one day for every week of testimony. Anything longer could be a strong sign of a hung jury or a deadlock on some counts.

The four-week trial began Jan. 24.


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-- Corina Knoll