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Jury in Bobo trial to return for day 5

TUSCALOOSA (AP) — A federal court jury deliberated for a fourth day Tuesday without reaching a verdict in the Medicaid fraud trial of Dr. Phillip Bobo, accused of trying to buy off a competitor for a state contract to provide prenatal care to poor women in West Alabama.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn told the jury to begin a fifth day on Wednesday.

Bobo, 63, is charged health care and wire fraud, tampering with witnesses and lying to the FBI and under oath at his first trial.

The prominent Tuscaloosa physician contends his actions and statements have been misrepresented by federal prosecutors and that he was negotiating a business arrangement with health care providers, not trying to pay them to drop out of any bidding on the contract.

Federal prosecutors say Bobo tried to rig the bidding process in 1999 with help from friends in then-Gov. Don Siegelman’s administration. The government says he proposed a payoff of $800,000, including $550,000 from the state-funded Alabama Fire College in Tuscaloosa, where Bobo was medical director.

Bobo’s conviction at his first trial in 2001 was thrown out by a federal appeals court, which led to the second trial.

Siegelman and his chief of staff, Paul Hamrick, were charged with Bobo when he was indicted the second time. But federal prosecutors dropped the case against them in 2004 after a federal judge ruled there was not enough evidence to support a key conspiracy charge against them.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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