The jury in the Marvin Mandel corruption trial adjourned at 8:15 tonight after the U.S. marshals had alerted the defendants and attorney that a verdict might be imminent.
The jury was scheduled to reconvene at 9 a.m. Saturday to continue deliberations that have gone on for three full days now.
About 7 p.m. this evening, the jurors requested three extra verdict forms for each of the six defendants. That request brought most of the attorneys and one defendant to the federal courthouse here, and for more than an hour they waited anxiously in the lobby.
Even relatives of the jurors congregated in the spacious courtroom lobby, prepared to bring their family members home finally after the 10 weeks of sequestration in a suburban Baltimore hotel during the trial.
The request for the additional verdict forms was the first communication from the jury in more than 30 hours of deliberation.The last time the 12 jurors asked for anything other than food was at 10 a.m. Wednesday, one hour after they began deliberating the guilt or innocence of Mandel and his live [WORD ILLEGIBLE] W. Dale Hess, Henry W. Rodgers, III, William A. Rodgers, Irvin Kovens and Ernest N. [WORD ILLEGIBLE]
At twilight, once the word went out, the crowd around the courthouse swelled to over 100 people. Hess, however, was the only defendant to remain in the lobby, and he telephoned his wife in rural Hartford County, north of Baltimore, to prepare for a verdict.
Gov. Mandel and his wife, Jeanne, waited two blocks away in their suite at the Baltimore Hilton Hotel.
Madelyn Franz, mother of juror Thomas Franz, III, came to the courthouse early at 3 p.m. because she said she had a feeling a verdict might come this evening.
At 8 p.m., when the marshal, publicly alerted the crowd in the lobby, she phoned Franz's wife [WORD ILLEGIBLE] who brought two of their six children to wait for the anticipated verdict and the return of Franz.
As soon as the marshals said there was no verdict, the two women sighed and said they would come back Saturday.
The entire episode started an intense flurry of activity throughout the courthouse and in courtrooms around the state. It brought [WORD ILLEGIBLE] wise tedious period of waiting and watching.