Mistrial declared in Bobby Ferguson's bid-rigging case

Mistrial declared in Bobby Ferguson's bid-rigging case

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Bobby Ferguson  (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com) Bobby Ferguson (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Bobby Ferguson didn't say a word as he left federal court Tuesday.  Jurors didn't say much either, but their action or lack of action speaks volumes.

After days of deliberation, they simply could not reach a verdict in the $12-million bid-rigging case forcing the judge to declare a mistrial. It is a move that even Fox 2's Charlie Langton didn't see coming.

"Something changed over the course of a day because yesterday they said that they were in agreement on some charges, but not on others.  So, I thought that maybe there would be a partial verdict."

By Tuesday, that agreement was gone and the jury deadlocked.  At first, this case appeared to be a slam dunk for the feds, so what went wrong? Charlie's got a theory.

"There was simply too many charges, too many defendants and, frankly, this was a complicated case that I'm not quite sure the jury was able to put it all together."

Plus, the trial lasted a month, which may have been too long for this jury.

"I think when you've got a lot of very complex testimony, there may just have been some jury fatigue," Langton said.

 We don't know exactly why the jury couldn't reach a verdict because the judge has asked them not to talk to the media, but one thing is very clear.  

"The government did not prove the case. Today, it's a loss for the government," said Langton.

With the Kilpatricks' federal case just months away, the feds could be facing an uphill battle.

"Maybe the government will take a lesson from this case because the Kwame Kilpatrick RICO case, which is an immensely complicated case with as many defendants, but more counts and more intricacy, I would say for the government take a page from this trial, pare it down, make it simple if you want to get a conviction," Langton remarked.

The judge has asked both sides come back to federal court Wednesday at 9:00 a.m.

Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade issued the following statement about the trial.

"We are disappointed that these jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict, but we appreciate their time and their work. We will try this case again because it is so important to the citizens of Detroit, who deserve so much better. We will do all we can to hold accountable defendants who are charged with cheating to obtain lucrative public contracts and then dumping contaminated soil on a housing project for low-income families just so that they can be paid to clean it up. We are confident in the merits and strength of this case."

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