The jury in the trial of Rep. Daniel Flood (D-Pa.) reported itself dead-locked last night after seven hours of deliberation, with "no evidence" that it "will ever be able to reach a verdict."

The deliberations will continue today, however, on the instructions of presiding U.S. District Court Judge Oliver Gasch. "I am very reluctant at this point -- after having spent three weeks of your time, my time, and everybody's time -- to see the matter end this way," Gasch told the jurors.

Gasch reminded the jurors that they could render a partial verdict -- separate votes on each of the 11 counts of the bribery, conspiracy and perjury indictment. Over the objections of defense lawyers, he advised them to do so.

But the final note from the jury foreman to the judge indicated confusion in the jury room. "Some of the jurors did not understand 'a partial verdict,'" the note said. "Would you please explain it to us?"

Gasch said he would do so at 9:30 a.m. today when the jury reconvenes.

The jury first reported its deadlock to the judge at 2:35 p.m., after only about three hours of deliberation. The stronger note came at 5:30 p.m. At 6:05 p.m., the foreman of the jury reported that there had been no progress, and Gasch retired the jurors for the night.

Flood is charged with accepting over $54,000 worth of bribes from persons seeking his help in securing federal grants and contracts.

Though his former administrative aide, Stephen B. Elko, was the chief prosecution witness, there was much dispute among potentially corroborating witnesses about times and places when the bribes allegedly occurred.

A deadlocked or "hung" jury would result in declaration of a mistrial. This would allow the government to retry Flood on any or all of the counts on which no verdict was reached.