Dan Ackman, 03.11.05, Forbes.com
NEW YORK - Reading consequence into notes from a jury room is always an inexact science, if only because it's impossible to know whether a particular note came from one juror or 12. Despite the uncertainty, the future for Bernard Ebbers looks a lot brighter today than it did two days ago, as the jury in his fraud and conspiracy trial ended its sixth day of deliberations without a verdict.
Indeed, the jury may not even be close to finishing its work, as just this morning it asked for a "flip chart," or poster board and markers, apparently so it could diagram the charges.
More favorable for Ebbers, the former billionaire CEO of WorldCom, was the fact that the jury also asked for the direct testimony and cross-examination of Cynthia Cooper. While Cooper was an internal auditor for WorldCom -- and the whistle-blower who first exposed the accounting fraud -- at the trial she was a witness for the defense. Sources close to the defense say their calling her was meant as a powerful signal that Ebbers was on the side of those who didn't know about the fraud as it occurred.Eric Friedebach /An Apollo Sandwich from Corky & Lenny's/