Jury questions suggest struggle in trial of Washington state auditor Troy Kelley

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Washington state auditor Troy Kelley

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Questions from a federal jury deliberating the fate of Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley suggest a struggle to decide at least some of the counts against him.

In their fourth day of deliberations Tuesday, the jury asked U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton whether it’s OK to change a verdict on a certain charge after they’ve entered it on the verdict form.

The judge responded that it is. He sent them a clean form to start filling in.

The question came a day after the jurors asked what they should do if they can’t agree on certain counts. The judge told them that if they believe more time would help them, they should take it.

A juror said a radio news story may have affected one of its members.

After telling U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton that it had been able to agree on just one of the 15 counts, the jury sent out another note — this time saying a juror had “heard something on the radio that may have affected things.”

The court subsequently sent the jurors to get lunch.

Kelley is the first Washington state official indicted in 35 years. He is accused of illegally pocketing $3 million in fees that prosecutors say he should have refunded to homeowners when he ran a real-estate services business. They say it happened during the height of the housing boom, before Kelley was elected state auditor.

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