Davidson's prosecutors granted extension


Federal prosecutors have four more weeks to decide whether they want to retry real estate consultant Donald Davidson on 18 corruption charges.

On July 17, jurors delivered a split verdict on Davidson. They found Davidson guilty on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and five counts of wire fraud for attempting to bribe then-Las Vegas City Councilman Michael McDonald in 2002.

But jurors deadlocked on 18 other counts, and prosecutors were initially given seven days to determine whether to seek a retrial on those counts.

On Thursday, they had U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt extend the deadline to Aug. 22.

After a three-week trial and five days of deliberation, the jurors had been unable reach a unanimous decision on whether Davidson was guilty of conspiracy, a charge related to paying former Clark County Commissioner Erin Kenny cash after she voted in favor of a controversial casino in the Spring Valley neighborhood and a CVS Pharmacy adjacent to a residential area.

Initially, jurors and federal sources said that the deadlocked vote was 11 to one on all 18 counts related to Kenny.

However jurors later explained that the root of the deadlock was a nine to three vote on the conspiracy charge.

Because of the way the indictment was written, unless jurors found Davidson guilty of the first count, the conspiracy charge, they could not find him guilty of the next 17 charges, juror Ron Bowling said.

Three elements made up the conspiracy count: the Spring Valley casino, the pharmacy and the zoning change Davidson sought for his client John Hui. Davidson was accused of paying Kenny on behalf of Hui.

Bowling said a straw poll taken July 13, three days after jurors began deliberating, showed that 11 of 12 jurors favored finding Davidson guilty of conspiracy.

When the jury re-convened after the weekend, they took a secret ballot and nine of the 12 jurors leaned toward finding Davidson guilty.

"We couldn't reach unanimity on any of the three elements," Bowling said. "The people saying 'not guilty' were always in the minority."

The 18 counts on which the jury deadlocked all involved Kenny, a government witness who testified during the trial. Other than Kenny's testimony, prosecutors relied on circumstantial evidence.

"The primary evidence you have is Erin Kenny, and she didn't carry the ball," Bowling said.

0||1949832.jpg||Donald Davidson
Found guilty of trying to bribe then-Las Vegas City Councilman Michael McDonald
 

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