Saturday, February 6, 2016

Bonusgate jury still out(side)

This is not your typical jury.

Bonusgate jury still out(side)


This is not your typical jury.

This morning, the eight women and four men who will decide the Bonusgate political corruption case against former Rep. Mike Veon, asked the judge if they could take a lunchtime stroll if supervised.

It’s up to them, Dauphin County Judge Richard A. Lewis said, but if they decide to do so, they should expect company in the form of TV cameramen.

The request comes on the fourth day of deliberations in the cash-for-campaigning trial against Veon (D., Beaver) and three codefendants.

Made on a day temperatures reached into the 60s, the request was the latest indication of how close the panel has become during the six-week trial – the longest in Dauphin County’s recent history.

The dozen jurors eventually made it outside for about 15 minutes at lunchtime, sitting near the entrance of the courthouse facing the Susquehanna River as sheriff’s deputies kept a watchful eye.

On Friday, as the judge released three alternate jurors in the case, one panel member asked if they all could say goodbye. Some shook hands while others hugged those departing.

Lewis said he had never seen that in his 35 years as a prosecutor and a judge.

The panel is made up of a diverse group of Dauphin County residence, including a nurse, a township supervisor, and a state employee with a degree in sacred music.

In addition to their request to get in the sun, the jury also informed Lewis that they were nearing a decision on one of the defendants, who they didn’t identify, and asked for clarification on what constitutes conspiracy and conflict of interest.

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Commonwealth Confidential gives you regularly updated coverage of the state legislature, the governor and the workings of the state bureaucracy. It is written by Angela Couloumbis in the Inquirer's Harrisburg bureau, based in the statehouse, and by the newspaper's far-flung campaign reporters.

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