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Jury reaches day 5 in Bobo fraud trial

TUSCALOOSA (AP) — Jurors failed to reach a verdict Wednesday in their fifth day of deliberations in the trial of prominent Tuscaloosa physician Phillip Bobo, accused of trying to bribe a competitor for state Medicare contracts.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn told the jurors to return Thursday. Bobo, 63, is charged with health care and wire fraud, tampering with witnesses and lying to the FBI and under oath at his first trial.

During the deliberations Wednesday, the jury requested copies of the bid documents relating to the contracts sought by Bobo. The records provided to the jurors describe the required network of services that bidders would have to provide to poor pregnant women.

Later in the day, a juror sent a question to the judge, asking if jurors had to explain their verdict to fellow jurors. Blackburn brought the jury in the courtroom shortly after 4 p.m. and said jurors should be willing to discuss their views with each other.

Bobo’s stance

Bobo 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 to provide prenatal care to poor women in West Alabama.

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.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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