No telling what the Kilpatrick trial jury is thinking

No telling what the Kilpatrick trial jury is thinking

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Federal courthouse in Detroit  (Credit: Fox 2 News) Federal courthouse in Detroit (Credit: Fox 2 News)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

In Rome they are watching for smoke from the Vatican.  Here in Detroit we are watching for our own sign -- a sign of a verdict in the Kilpatrick incorporated trial.

For the past three days we have been looking for a sign, any sign like say smoke from the federal courthouse, giving us a clue what the jury is thinking.

So far, all we have learned is that the jury wanted to know more about an amendment to Tony Soave's sewer lining contract.  That deal is at the heart of one of the many extortion charges leveled at Kwame Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson.

So after careful consideration weighing all the factors, I think it is safe to say that anybody who tells you they know the meaning of that question is just blowing smoke.

Bill Swor is a criminal defense attorney with 40 years experience.  He said even federal courthouse veterans like himself have no idea what to make of jury inquiries.

"We don't read tea leaves.  We don't speculate.  They're going to do what they're going to do," he said.

Waiting for the jurors must be like torture for the defendants.  It is certainly no picnic for the attorneys.

"Between sending them out and we have our verdict lawyers go nuts," said Swor.

Attorneys caution against reading into how much time jurors spend deliberating.

"Once upon a time there was a rule of thumb that the jurors deliberated one day for every week of trial," Swor explained.

If that rules holds true, we are going to be here for a long time.  The case involves three defendants, dozens of charges, five months of testimony from nearly 100 witnesses and reams and reams of documents.

When deliberations started, Ferguson attorney Mike Rataj said conventional wisdom says a quick verdict favors the defendants, but even he is not buying that.

"In 24 years, I probably could try close to a hundred cases, and in some instances that's been true and other instances it's not true," he said.

So we sit and we wait, and no matter what the pundits say, Swor said there is only one way to tell for sure what is on the jury's mind.

"When they send out a little piece of paper that says we have our verdict," he remarked.

Until then, we will be watching stationed outside the federal courthouse until further notice.

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