NEW YORK – The jury weighing the case against former WorldCom chief Bernard Ebbers (search) deliberated for a fifth day Thursday and asked to review two documents that did not exist in evidence.
Jurors, in a late-morning note, asked to see a WorldCom (search) management budget report from March 2002 and an internal revenue document called MonRev for the first quarter of 2002.
U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones told the panel there was "no such document" that applied to their first request. To the second, she noted that MonRev was a monthly, not quarterly, report.
Later, the jury clarified that it wanted to see MonRev reports for January, February and March of 2002. The judge told jurors only March existed, and provided them the document.
Ebbers, 63, is charged with fraud, conspiracy and false filings in the $11 billion accounting fraud that sank WorldCom in 2002. It emerged from bankruptcy as MCI Inc.
On Wednesday, jurors asked whether they had to consider certain "supplemental allegations" against Ebbers, such as the size and scope of the fraud, in order to convict him of filing false regulatory documents.
Jones told the jury they did not need to consider those supplemental allegations.
"The supplemental allegations are irrelevant," she said. "You need not make any findings with respect to those allegations."
Ebbers lawyer Reid Weingarten moved for a mistrial, arguing the supplemental charges could prejudice the jury. Jones quickly denied the motion.
Besides the seven counts of false filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission (search), Ebbers is charged with fraud and conspiracy. The charges carry a combined 85 years in prison.
Jurors went home Wednesday afternoon without delivering a verdict — and asked the judge that they be served lunch from a Domino's Pizza Inc. store on Thursday, even offering to pay for the pies themselves.
"We appreciate our cafeteria lunches," the jury said in a note, "but we would appreciate a change."
The judge said she would grant the request.