by The Associated Press
Friday, October 24, 2008
WASHINGTON -- A judge has ordered a one- to two-day halt in deliberations in Sen. Ted Stevens' corruption trial.
Judge Emmet Sullivan said he wants to accommodate a juror whose father died.
Prosecutors wanted an alternate juror brought in so deliberations could continue Friday, but Sullivan said jurors might need a break. Deliberations have been marked by reports of stress and violent outbursts in the jury room.
Tension normally benefits defendants because it makes it harder to reach an unanimous verdict. However, the delay jeopardizesStevens' chance of a verdict before Election Day.
Stevens is charged with lying on Senate forms about more than $250,000 in gifts.
Jurors were sent home Friday and could also have Monday off, depending on when the juror returns from the funeral in California.