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Still no verdict in ex-congressman's corruption trial

  • Story Highlights
  • William Jefferson indicted two years ago after police found $90,000 in his freezer
  • Authorities: Cash was provided by FBI informant pretending to buy influence
  • Louisiana Democrat has pleaded not guilty to 16 counts
  • Ex-congressman could face up to 235 years in prison if convicted
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ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (CNN) -- Jurors in the corruption trial of former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana deliberated for a third day Monday without reaching a verdict.

Ex-Rep. William Jefferson could face up to 235 years in prison if he's convicted on 16 counts.

Ex-Rep. William Jefferson could face up to 235 years in prison if he's convicted on 16 counts.

"I'm doing OK," Jefferson said inside the courthouse as he, his wife and other family members walked toward Courtroom 900, where the trial took place.

Jefferson was in the courtroom Monday morning and returned as jurors were assembled to be dismissed for the day. He is expected to be present again Tuesday for jurors' morning roll call.

About 5:30 p.m., just before federal Judge T.S. Ellis III called jurors in to dismiss them for the day, he held a bench conference with attorneys from both sides to discuss a note from a juror. The judge said it concerned "a minor, non-substantive matter" and had "nothing to do with the merits of the case."

A federal grand jury indicted Jefferson on corruption charges in June 2007 about two years after federal agents said they found $90,000 in his freezer. The trial began June 16.

Authorities said the cash was part of a payment in marked bills from an FBI informant. They also said the transaction was captured on video.

Closing arguments by defense and prosecution attorneys ended Wednesday.

The jury of eight women and four men deliberated for more than three hours Thursday and more than five hours Friday, according to Peter Carr, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office.

Jefferson, 62, was indicted on charges of using his congressional clout to solicit and receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes for himself and his family in exchange for promoting products and services in Africa, especially Nigeria, and elsewhere.

The alleged crimes took place between 2001 and 2005.

Jefferson pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of racketeering, money laundering, wire fraud, obstruction of justice and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Carr said Jefferson could face a maximum sentence of up to 235 years in prison if convicted.

The information on the cash discovered in Jefferson's Washington freezer in August 2005 was revealed in an affidavit used to obtain a warrant to search Jefferson's office in May 2006.

Descriptions from the heavily redacted affidavit and pictures of the open freezer show bills wrapped in foil and tucked into frozen food containers, including a box for pie crusts and another for veggie burgers.

FBI agents told a judge that the money was part of a $100,000 payment that an informant had delivered in the bribery investigation, which led to guilty pleas by a Kentucky businessman and a former Jefferson aide.

Jefferson contested the office search before the U.S. Supreme Court, contending that he should have been afforded a chance "to segregate privileged legislative materials and shield them from review" before the search warrant was executed. The court refused to settle the dispute.

Jefferson, who graduated from Harvard Law School, represented Louisiana's 2nd Congressional District, which includes most of the New Orleans area. He held office for 18 years before losing his House seat in a December election.

As a representative, he was on the House Ways and Means Committee's subcommittee on trade and on the Budget Committee, and he co-chaired the Africa Trade and Investment Caucus as well as the caucus on Nigeria.

CNN's Alan Silverleib contributed to this report.

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