TROY, N.Y. - After eight days of juror deliberations, the judge delared a mistrial in Troy ballot fraud case against Troy democratic politicians Edward McDonough and Michael LoPorto.
A mistrial was declared around 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, as Judge Pulver said the jurors "hopelessly deadlocked" and had "no probability to agree" on the 103 charges against the two defendants.
Judge Pulver ordered the case to be retried minutes after the decision; however the case could be dismissed entirely, the decision is up to Special Prosecutor Trey Smith.
LoPorto's attorney Michael Fiet tells NEWS10 "there was a lot wrong with this case" and his client was only charged because of guilty by association.
Lawyers for both defendants say the trial was a waste of money in the first place, and it would be a waste of money yet again. "The amount of money that was spent so far is hundreds-of-thousands of dollars," Fiet says. "I think if people sit back and think about it, that money could be better spent on a lot of other things."
Fiet says there is no reason to believe a different jury would take a different position.
Both Fiet and McDonough's attorney Brian Premo says they will not take plea deals under any circumstances. "There were never any issues with that," Premo says. "We've never wanted a deal, we've never requested a deal, and that will never happen."
After six weeks of testimony, the jurors began deliberating the case on March 2nd. On Friday, the jury told the judge for a second day in a row they were deadlocked and could not reach a verdict; however the judge rejected a defense motion for a mistrial at that time, insisting the jury has not deliberated long enough. Though on Tuesday Judge Pulver declared "continuing deliberations would serve no purpose."
Former Rensselaer County Commissioner Edward McDonough and former Troy Councilman Michael LoPorto were on trial trying to steer the 2009 Working Family Party with an absentee ballot scheme by forging ballots.
McDonough was charged with 38 counts of 2nd-degree Forgery and 36 counts of 2nd-degree Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument. LoPorto was charged with 29 counts of 2nd-degree Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument. Both defendants faced up to seven years for each charge.
Both left the courthouse on Tuesday as free men.