The judge in the Britney Spears misdemeanor trial for driving without a California license, has just declared a mistrial after the deadlocked jury said they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict following nearly three days of deliberation.
"It’s clear to me you worked very hard and I appreciate your time and effort," the judge told the jurors after they affirmed they were hopelessly deadlocked on a verdict.
It was revealed following the court’s announcement that the jury’s consistent 10-2 votes on all five ballots had been leaning toward acquitting the pop star of the charges, with only two holdouts feeling she should be found guilty.
Jury foreman, Gary Moy, 45, of Reseda, Calif., told OK! after today’s announcement that he was one of the two that had consistently voted to convict Britney and said he felt the remaining 10 jurors were biased toward acquitting her because of her superstar status.
"The prosecution did a fine job presenting the evidence," said Moy.
At 1:30pm, the prosecutor confirmed suspicions that they would be closing the case against Britney and not attempt to re-try her on the charges.
"We felt that after talking to the jurors and evaluating the evidence that was before the court, that we put our best foot forward," prosecutor Michael Amerian said outside the courtroom, adding that he was surprised by the outcome. "Any time I bring a case to trial, it’s because I believe that we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt the charges that have been made. And I felt that given the evidence, we had a strong case."
Brit’s attorney, J. Michael Flanagan, said the only thing surprising him would have been for the prosecution to attempt to re-try the case.
"Can you imagine re-prosecuting a misdemeanor?" he said today. "They don’t even re-prosecute murder trials."
Flanagan also said he felt that the prosecution was vindictive of Britney, given her superstar status.
"They offered her a chance to buy her way out of the case," he said about an earlier rejected plea deal. "But she wanted to be treated like an ordinary person and have her case heard by a jury."
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At 10:35 am on Tuesday, the jury told the judge that they were still deadlocked, and he then gave each attorney five minutes to once again run down their side of the story for the panel of eight women and four men in the Van Nuys, Calif., courthouse.
The prosecutor in the case, Michael Amerian, reminded the jury that, as late as a week before the parking lot incident, Britney had actually signed a legal document claiming she was a resident of California. He also claimed that, even if the jury allows that Brit is indeed a Louisiana resident, there is no proof she had a valid Louisiana license at the time.
Countering these claims, Brit’s attorney, J. Michael Flanagan, repeated his assertion that Britney had been intending to move back home to Louisiana in August 2007, when she accidentally hit another vehicle in an L.A. parking lot, and that she only stayed in California to fight the custody battle with ex-husband Kevin Federline.
He also pointed out that the pop star’s father, Jamie Spears, testified under oath that his daughter did indeed have a Louisiana license at the time of the accident.
"I want to escape this case," Flanagan told OK! after giving his second closing argument. "I’ve tried about 500 cases and I’ve never seen something like this, I’ve seen hung juries before but never have I had to give additional closing arguments for a case like this… They should have declared this a mistrial a day ago. I looked at the jury and they did not look happy. I did not see a lot of happy faces."
By Katie Rhames