DETROIT – A jury on Wednesday acquitted former federal prosecutor Richard Convertino of charges that he conspired to hide evidence in the nation's first major terrorism trial after the Sept. 11 attacks.
The government said Convertino, a former assistant U.S. attorney, so badly wanted to see convictions in the terrorism case, which went to trial in 2003, that he broke the law himself. But lawyers for Convertino argued he did nothing wrong and had no reason to conspire to hide evidence.
The jury also acquitted Harry Smith III, an ex-State Department investigator, in the case.
"It's a just end to a politically motivated prosecution," Convertino said after the verdict was read.
Prosecutors say Convertino was e-mailed photos of a Jordanian hospital that should have been turned over to the defense at the 2003 trial. And prosecutors say Convertino allowed Smith to testify that it would be difficult to get photos of the hospital even though they both knew photos existed.
But the defense said the government didn't prove that Convertino intentionally withheld the photos and no conspiracy existed. Smith's lawyer also argued that his client's testimony was truthful.
Jurors started deliberations in the case Wednesday morning following nearly three weeks of testimony before U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow.