Attempting to clarify statements he made to the jury on Tuesday, the judge in the fraud and tax evasion trial of Nancy Hoover Hunter told the jury Wednesday that it has as much time as it needs to decide the 197 charges against Hunter.
Regarding his comments about reaching a verdict in one week, U.S. District Judge Earl B. Gilliam said, “My intent was to say you could have reached a verdict by this time.”
Gilliam also re-read the part of the jury instructions which says that the panel should not be influenced by any comments he made. “It’s entirely up to you,” he said.
The jury was summoned to Gilliam’s courtroom after defense attorney Robert S. Brewer Jr. said Gilliam’s comments on Tuesday were “highly improper” and constituted “undue intrusion by the trial judge.”
On Tuesday, Gilliam assembled the jury and said, “You should have a verdict in this case in another week (and) you should have one already.”
Wednesday was the eighth day of deliberations in the longest trial ever in federal court in San Diego.