The early speculation that the jury would return a quick verdict on Joe Bruno has proven to be totally off base.
“After careful consideration, we have come to a consensus on two counts. We cannot come to a decisionn on the other six counts. Could you please provide us with some guidance as to how we are to proceed. We are not ready to give up, but we could use some assistance.” [Politics on the Hudson]Judge Gary Sharpe, concerned by the use of the word "consensus," reminded the jury that unanimous consent is required for conviction. The jurors replied that, indeed, they had reached a verdict on two counts.
As far as what the verdict is on those two counts, really, your guess is as good as mine. Here are the eight counts against Bruno, as summarized in the New York Times this morning. The testimony of Mary Louise Mallick, which was read back to the jury on Monday, would seem to favor the defense.
But, on the other hand, the fact that the jury's request on Tuesday for a read back of Nov 6 testimony by businessman Leonard Fassler pertained to such a specific portion of that testimony - regarding a payment of just $15,000 of the $468,000 that Bruno was paid by him - indicates to me that the jury could be zeroing in on a specific instance in which they feel that Bruno did, indeed, deprive his constituency of his honest services.
Mr. Fassler appeared to have trouble describing what consulting work Mr. Bruno did for him, and said that an invoice he asked Mr. Bruno to send him was “more form over substance.” [NY Times]Fassler had also told the court that, in 1995, he requested, through Bruno (who he had been paying $4000 a month since 1993), a meeting with Governor Pataki "to discuss the forging of a partnership between IBM, NYS and AmeriData.” Fassler ran the latter company. He also had been asked about his company's efforts to do business with OTB. And he told the court that a Bruno aide was “very good at getting tickets at Saratoga raceways.” No surprise there of course.