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Wednesday, October 5, 2022


The District Court jury in the Ann E. Abramson, Berthill Thomas conspiracy and bribery trial ended its deliberations in a deadlock Monday. Judge Thomas K. Moore has declared a mistrial.
The jurors were split 8-4 in favor of conviction on nearly every count, according to media reports.
On Friday the 12 jurors convicted Thomas of six counts of filing false claims and making false statements within the jurisdiction of a federal agency. But they failed to return a verdict on the charges against Abramson, a former Public Works commissioner, and remaining charges against Thomas, and asked to return Monday to continue deliberations.
About 90 minutes after they began deliberating again, the jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked, according to WVWI news.
While the jury had convicted Thomas on Friday of the six fraud counts, he was acquitted of one count of bribing a public official, in this case Walter Challenger of the Finance Department.
The jury could not agree then on Thomas' guilt or innocence on conspiring to bribe Abramson.
The case involved Thomas' 1996 work on the Finance Department's roof after Hurricane Marilyn damaged it in 1995. Abramson was charged with hiring Thomas to do the repairs and taking a $6,500 kickback from him. Thomas billed $40,000 for the repairs, which federal officials said should have cost less than $6,000.
The jurors told Judge Moore at about 8:30 p.m. Friday that they were "at an impasse and saturated," the Independent reported. After a lot of note-passing back and forth, the jurors said their preferred course was to return Monday morning, even though they felt then that they were hopelessly deadlocked on the remaining charges.

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