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BREAKING 5:30pm 5-31-08: Federal Jury Finds Caddo Judges "Guilty" of Corruption Charges
Judges Michael Walker and Vernon Claville were accused of taking bribes in return for favors. Judge Maurice Hicks charged the jury with the case at 8:30 Friday evening, May 30th, then sequestered them at 11:30 last night in a nearby hotel.
The 12 members returned for deliberations at 8:30 this Saturday morning, then announcing they had reached a verdict about 4:30pm today. The trial which began May 19th, lasted 12 days.
In his closing arguments, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alec Van Hook told jurors it is clear, judges Walker and Claville are guilty of corruption.
During the trial, the government played taped cell phone conversations and showed surveillance video of the judges talking to and meeting with alleged middle man Travis McCullough.
Prosecutors say the judges accepted bribes in return for reducing bonds and reducing court holds. Apparently, the jury was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt Walker and Claville were guilty as charged.
According to KTBS-TV3, the pair was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals after the verdict was read.
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