‘We Build The Wall’ trial ends in mistrial; jury deadlocked

Jun 7, 2022, 11:29 AM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 4:18 pm
Timothy Shea exits Manhattan federal court during his trial on Friday, June 3, 2022, in New York. (...

Timothy Shea exits Manhattan federal court during his trial on Friday, June 3, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

(AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

NEW YORK (AP) — The trial of a Colorado businessman on charges that he ripped off thousands of donors who contributed $25 million to a campaign to build a wall along the southern U.S. border ended Tuesday in a mistrial after jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict in a prosecution that once featured onetime presidential adviser Steve Bannon.

The mistrial in the prosecution of Timothy Shea was granted by U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres after the jury reported for a third time that it could not reach a verdict on any count, saying the deadlock was “abundantly clear.” They said extended deliberations had left them “further entrenched in our opposing views.”

Turmoil during jury deliberations was revealed last week when 11 jurors sent a note to the judge to say one juror who complained about a “government witch hunt” had exhibited “political bias,” labeled the rest of them as liberals and complained that the trial should have occurred in a southern state.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement that the mistrial “in no way lessens our resolve or believe in the powerful and compelling evidence that we strongly believe proves his guilt.”

He added: “We look forward to retrying this case as soon as possible.” A retrial, though, was unlikely to occur before the fall.

Shea and his lawyer did not comment as they left the courthouse.

After two previous notes last week pointed toward a deadlock, the judge had urged jurors to try again.

Shea was left to stand trial alone after Bannon, a onetime adviser to then-President Donald Trump, was pardoned. And two other defendants pleaded guilty. The case was prosecuted in New York after it was determined that donors to the fund were from everywhere in the country, including New York.

Conspiracy and falsification of records charges against Shea were filed after questions arose over how donations were spent from a “We Build The Wall” campaign that raised about $25 million for a wall. Only a few miles of wall were built.

Prosecutors said Shea and other fund organizers promised investors that all donations would fund a wall, but Shea and the others eventually pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars for themselves.

Shea’s lawyers contended that he acted honorably regarding the fundraising campaign and did not commit a crime.

Shea, of Castle Rock, Colorado, owns an energy drink company, Winning Energy, whose cans have featured a cartoon superhero image of Trump and claim to contain “12 oz. of liberal tears.”

Dissension among jurors was first revealed Thursday when 11 jurors said in their note to the judge that they were unanimously requesting that one juror be replaced by an alternate juror. They said the juror had expressed anti-government bias.

In response to the note, the judge questioned the juror in her robing room with lawyers on both sides present.

Among her questions, Torres asked him if he had any biases or personal views that prevent him from being a fair and impartial juror.

He said he did not. So she left him on the jury.

After twice requesting a mistrial on Thursday, defense attorney John Meringolo renewed his request in writing on Friday on many of the same grounds as he had the day before.

He said the jury had violated secrecy rules by revealing too much in its note seeking the disqualification of one juror, and he said the judge improperly referenced political views when she read them a so-called Allen charge intended to add new energy to deliberations.

Meringolo said those instructions in light of what had occurred earlier Thursday could only have been understood to be singling out the juror “and pressuring him to come to a verdict.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

President Joe Biden waves to the media as he walks to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base...
Associated Press

Biden’s mission in Europe: Shore up alliance against Russia

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is out to sustain the global alliance punishing Russia for its invasion of Ukraine as he embarks on a five-day trip to Europe as the four-month-old war shows no sign of abating and its aftershocks to global food and energy supplies are deepening. Biden first joins a meeting of […]
8 hours ago
Associated Press

Pfizer says tweaked COVID-19 shots boost omicron protection

Pfizer announced Saturday that tweaking its COVID-19 vaccine to better target the omicron variant is safe and works — just days before regulators debate whether to offer Americans updated booster shots this fall. The vaccines currently used in the U.S. still offer strong protection against severe COVID-19 disease and death — especially if people have […]
8 hours ago
President Joe Biden prepares to stand after signing into law S. 2938, the Bipartisan Safer Communit...
Associated Press

Highlights of bipartisan gun violence bill signed by Biden

Highlights of the bipartisan gun violence bill that President Joe Biden signed on Saturday: –Expanded background checks: State and local juvenile and mental health records of gun purchasers will be part of federal background checks for buyers age 18 to 20. Three-day maximum for gathering records will be lengthened to up to 10 days to […]
8 hours ago
Associated Press

Religious schools may steer clear of tuition despite ruling

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Religious schools got what they wanted when the Supreme Court allowed them to participate in a state tuition program. But the state attorney general said the ruling will be for naught unless the schools are willing to abide by the same antidiscrimination law as other private schools that participate in the […]
8 hours ago
President Joe Biden signs into law S. 2938, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act gun safety bill, i...
Associated Press

Biden signs landmark gun measure, says ‘lives will be saved’

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Saturday signed the most sweeping gun violence bill in decades, a bipartisan compromise that seemed unimaginable until a recent series of mass shootings, including the massacre of 19 students and two teachers at a Texas elementary school. “Time is of the essence. Lives will be saved,” he said […]
8 hours ago
FILE - This Sept. 20, 2017, file photo shows a sign at the Disney store on the Champs Elysees Avenu...
Associated Press

Abortion ruling thrusts companies into divisive arena

The Supreme Court’s decision to end the nation’s constitutional protections for abortion has catapulted businesses of all types into the most divisive corner of politics. Some companies that stayed silent last month — when a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito was leaked to Politico — spoke up for the first time Friday, including The […]
8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
‘We Build The Wall’ trial ends in mistrial; jury deadlocked