The jury in the six-week-old conspiracy and bribery trial of D.C. businessman John B. Clyburn and former Department of Health and Human Services official James E. Baugh announced it was deadlocked yesterday after nearly four days of deliberations.
The jurors sent U.S. District Judge Joyce Hens Green a note at mid-afternoon saying that "we regret to inform the court that . . . we are only in agreement to disagree and are unable to each a final decision on any count."
Green immediately dismissed the jurors for the day, after instructing them to return to District Court here at 9:30 a.m. today for more instructions. It is customary in such circumstances for judges to give deadlocked juries an "Allen charge," which tells them to try again to reach a verdict, and instructs them to reexamine other viewpoints while not surrendering their own beliefs.
Clyburn, Baugh and their attorneys would not comment on the jury's note.
The prosecution charges that Baugh helped Clyburn's computer company get a $400,000 Department of Housing and Urban Development contract in exchange for Clyburn's aid to Baugh's wife, Veatrice, in starting her own business. At the time that the government says the conspiracy was underway, from May 1986 to May 1987, Baugh was the deputy assistant secretary at HUD for public and Indian housing.
The indictment against the two, returned in May 1989, is the second of four prosecutions to go to trial here stemming from a probe of alleged contracting irregularities in the administration of D.C. Mayor Marion Barry. Clyburn is a close friend of Barry's.
He is also a friend of former D.C. Department of Human Services head David E. Rivers, who was a co-defendant of Clyburn's in a case that went to trial earlier this year. In that case, the government charged Rivers and Clyburn with conspiring to steer more than $2 million in contracts from the human services agency to Clyburn and to companies owned by his friends. A jury acquitted Rivers and Clyburn on all counts in July.
A third case, against former human services staff members Michael Davis and Gladys Baxley, is scheduled to begin shortly in Green's courtroom. The fourth involves Clyburn and D.C. businessman Porter Bankhead.