PHILADELPHIA After 15 days of testimony and two days of closing arguments, federal jurors in the Dorothy June Brown charter school fraud trial began deliberating shortly before 1 p.m. Thursday. They deliberated for 31/2 hours without reaching a verdict, and will resume their work on Friday.
Brown is charged with defrauding the four charter schools she founded of $6.7 million and obstructing justice by conspiring with two former administrators to cover-up the alleged crime. She also has been charged with one count of witness tampering.
In all, the jurors will consider 63 separate counts.
U.S. District Court Judge R. Barclay Surrick praised the panel for its diligence.
"I have watched you as a jury, and you have paid very close attention to what has been going on in the courtroom," Surrick said. "You have seen all the evidence and heard the arguments of counsel."
Brown's codefendants, Michael A. Slade Jr. and Courteney L. Knight, are each charged with conspiring to obstruct justice and two counts of obstructing justice. Slade, who is Brown's great-nephew is a suspended chief executive of one of her charters. Knight, a teacher, is the former CEO at another.
- Martha Woodall