Closing arguments are expected to begin Friday in the bribery case against City Council aide Chris Wright and three businessmen, as lawyers have spent most of today hashing out instructions for the jury. When the judge charges the jury, these instructions will be critical - they explain to the jury what elements they must find for each of 14 counts count to determine guilt or innocence. In a bribery case in which there is no direct evidence of what the defendants were thinking at the time, these instructions will play an important role in determining the jury's finding of guilt or innocence.
Wright has been on trial since Jan. 29 on charges of bribery and fraud along with developer-brothers Hardeep Chawla and Ravinder Chawla and their corporate attorney, Andrew Teitelman. Ten days of testimony concluded Wednesday, but lawyers have not yet agreed on instructions. Judge Robreno just sent the jury home for the day and said closings would begin at 8:45 a.m. Friday. That means that the case will spill over into Tuesday; the courthouse is closed for the holiday Monday.
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