Bobo jury to return Monday for eighth day of deliberations
TUSCALOOSA (AP) — Jurors haven't reached a verdict through seven days of deliberations in the Medicaid fraud trial of prominent Tuscaloosa physician Phillip Bobo, but they will try again Monday.
U.S. District Judge Scott Coogler, who was filling in Friday for another judge, called jurors into the courtroom about 2 p.m., saying he wanted to get a feel for how much longer the panel might want to work and whether jurors wanted to return Monday.
The jurors returned to the jury room and sent the judge a note saying, "The jury believes that if we do not reach a decision by 4 p.m. today, we will return Monday."
The jury didn't reach a verdict before breaking for the weekend.
The jury began its deliberations Aug. 9 after listening to seven days of testimony.
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.
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.
Bobo's conviction at his first trial in 2001 was thrown out by a federal appeals court, which said the indictment was faulty. Jurors in the first trial deliberated two days.
Siegelman and his chief of staff, Paul Hamrick, were charged with Bobo when he was indicted for the second trial. 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.
Nick Bailey, who was Siegelman's executive secretary, testified during the second trial that he took a private charter flight from Montgomery to Tusca-loosa in spring 1999 to show Bobo information on the state's Medicaid bid process. He said he had received the information earlier in the day in a meeting with four other Siegelman staff members and advisers, and that he regarded it as confidential.
Bobo said Bailey only told him that the bids for the Medicaid contracts were too high.
Bailey has pleaded guilty to bribery and been sentenced to 18 months in prison. He also testified against Siegelman during his bribery and mail fraud trial last year in Montgomery.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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