Jurors in Jerry Eversole trial: What's a bribe?
Jurors weighing whether Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole accepted bribes from a longtime friend and real estate developer sent out two notes Monday, their second day of deliberating, asking for an index of the evidence they saw during the trial and for the definition of "bribe."
On agreement of both sides, U.S. District Judge David Hittner referred jurors to three pages of the 27-page jury instructions for the definition.
The Precinct 4 commissioner is accused of taking more than $100,000 in cash, gifts and trips in exchange for his influence on five multimillion dollar construction projects for developer Michael Surface.
Surface also was indicted in December and is expected to go to trial later this year.
Jurors are expected to continue deliberating Tuesday in the three-week trial. They heard closing arguments and considered the case for two hours Friday.
Over the weekend the jury was allowed to take home copies of the jury instructions to study it, a request neither Hittner nor the attorneys in the case have ever heard before.
Eversole is accused of taking more than $30,000 in antique guns with ivory grips, $17,000 in landscaping for his Heights area home and at least eight trips to dude ranches and golf courses across the Southwest.
Eversole’s defense team rested last week without calling a single witness, arguing instead that prosecutors had not proved their case.
If convicted, Eversole could face a maximum punishment of 21 years in prison and $700,000 in fines. Hittner would decide the punishment.
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