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Jury Reports Trouble Reaching A Verdict In Ron Paul Staffers Trial

Flickr / Joe Gratz

A federal jury in Des Moines completed its first full day of deliberations Wednesday in the trial of two senior aids from Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign. It appears jurors are having a hard time coming to consensus in deciding if deputy campaign director Dimitrios Kesari and campaign chairman Jesse Benton are guilty of charges related to keeping payments to Kent Sorenson, a former Iowa state senator, secret from the Federal Election Commission. 

At about 2:00 pm the jury sent a note to Judge John Jarvey saying that members had come to an agreement on three of the six counts they were deliberating. But on the other three charges the jury wrote that they, “Do not feel we will be able to reach a unanimous decision on those three.”

At that point the jury had only deliberated for seven hours and the judge wrote back, “In my experience, it is too early to declare that you are hopelessly deadlocked.” A hung jury would result in a mistrial.

The jury also sent Jarvey questions about the definition of willfulness. One defendant, DimitriosKesari, says he did not know he was breaking the law when he sought to keep payments to Sorenson secret. 

Benton faces up to five years in prison. Kesari could face 20.