Juror Given Massive Bag Of Cash To Acquit Federal Fraud Defendants

(NewsReady.com) – The US justice system is basically based on an honor system. For example, jurors swear an oath that they will be impartial and render a verdict based on the evidence presented to them. A juror in an ongoing federal case was offered a massive bribe to do the opposite.

On Monday, June 3, US District Judge Nancy Brasel dismissed a juror from a $40 million fraud case. The dismissal came after the juror reported a woman dropped a bag off at her home with $120,000 cash in it. The woman offered her more money if she voted to acquit seven people who are on trial for allegedly stealing federal money that was supposed to be used to feed children during the national health crisis. The 23-year-old immediately handed the money over to the police.

Assistant US Attorney Joseph Thompson expressed shock, saying, “This is outrageous behavior. This is stuff that happens in mob movies.”

Brasel questioned the other 17 jurors and alternates. None reported unauthorized contact, but the judge decided to sequester the jury moving forward. The next day, Brasel removed a second juror from the case after one of their family members asked them if they were isolated because of the alleged bribe.

The FBI also revealed the defendants, defense attorneys, and prosecutors knew identifying information about the jurors. Brasel ordered the defendants to hand over their cell phones, which were all taken into custody.

The case is one of the largest fraud cases from the national health crisis. They are the first of 70 defendants to go to trial related to a conspiracy that cost American taxpayers $250 million. Police have recovered about $50 million. Eighteen others have pleaded guilty in the case.

Prosecutors claim the defendants were affiliated with Feeding Our Future, a nonprofit that recruited people and entities to open Federal Child Nutrition Program sites to feed needy kids in Minnesota. Instead of feeding kids, the seven defendants are accused of buying luxuries for themselves.

As of the time of writing, the jury is currently deliberating.

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