Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- A federal judge overseeing the Jonathan Pinson public corruption trial has denied a defense attorney's request for a mistrial.
Jurors have been deliberating the racketeering and fraud allegations against Pinson, an ex-SC State trustee, since Monday.
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Wednesday, one of the jurors said they can't continue the case beginning on Monday due to an internship. Prosecutors asked to continue with 11 jurors or put an alternate juror in place and restart deliberations.
Defense attorney Jim Griffin asked for a mistrial claiming that placing an alternate wouldn't be fair because the new juror would be behind and would never match up with those who were already there. Judge David Norton agreed that using an alternate juror would not work. If the deliberations continue past 11:30 a.m. Thursday, the jury would continue with 11 members next week.
He also said the juror's reasoning is adequate to be excused.
Norton said the trial has gone on too long to declare a mistrial. Toward the end of the day, however, jurors sent the judge a note saying "we are at a point where we do not agree?" Norton then dismissed them, telling them to return at 9:30 a.m.
If jurors are indeed at a standstill, Norton plans to give the jury instructions to continue deliberating until they reach a verdict.
Judge Norton says the transcript of the trial won't be completed until November, so declaring a mistrial would stretch the process out for another 6 months.