The federal jury deciding the fate of indicted U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah still hasn’t reached a verdict in his criminal corruption case.
On Friday morning, U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle instructed the jury to start its deliberations over after a member of the panel was dismissed and replaced by an alternate.
It’s not completely clear why the juror was sent home. Prosecutors and defense lawyers were instructed not to discuss the details. Court recordings reveal it happened after the jury reached some sort of impasse.
To date, the reconstituted panel hasn’t asked Bartle any questions in open court.
Deliberations started after four weeks of testimony.
The government alleges Fattah quarterbacked a “white-collar crime spree” for his personal and political gain.
In one scheme, Fattah allegedly took an illegal $1 million loan to his failed bid for Philadelphia mayor in 2007, then stole federal grants and charitable donations to repay part of the loan.
In another, he allegedly accepted bribes from a wealthy friend who wanted to become a U.S. ambassador.
Fattah is also accused of using campaign cash to help pay off his son’s college loan and trying to steer federal grants to a sham nonprofit to settle up with a political consultant who worked on his mayoral campaign.
Fattah has called the charges against him “frivolous” and predicted complete exoneration.
Four co-defendants, all longtime Fattah allies, are charged alongside the congressman.
The indictment charges members of the group with racketeering conspiracy, bribery, money laundering and bank fraud.