COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) - A federal jury wrapped up a fifth day of
deliberations without a verdict Monday in the trial of three suspended lawyers charged with defrauding their clients in a $200 million diet drug settlement.
Attorneys Shirley Cunningham Jr., William Gallion and Melbourne
Mills Jr. face up to 20 years in prison if convicted on wire fraud
The case has been closely watched in Kentucky and by the horse
racing industry because Gallion and Cunningham are part-owners of
Curlin, the 2007 Horse of the Year.
Jurors took several breaks to smoke on Monday, and have deliberated about 35 hours over five days in a trial that has now run eight weeks.
Prosecutors said in closing arguments that the lawyers were
motivated by greed when they took a $127 million payment to settle a 2001 lawsuit in which they should have been paid $60 million.
Defense attorneys said the lawyers didn't commit any crimes and any
mistakes in the settlement were unintentional.
Evidence and testimony in the trial of the three men went for six weeks, with much of it focusing on how the class-action settlement was handled.
Gallion testified for the defense, at one point telling jurors that he, Cunningham and Mills would have been justified in keeping $170 million of the money.
The case caught the attention of the horse industry nationally
because Gallion and Cunningham were the original owners of 2007
Horse of the Year Curlin. They have since sold an 80-percent share of the horse and a judge has said he would order the rest to go toward their judgment in a civil suit.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)