State Senator Not Guilty In Land Fraud Trial

Chattanooga (AP) -- A jury found State Senator Jerry Cooper not guilty on all counts in his land fraud trial.

The 59-year-old Cooper was charged with bank fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy.

The Democrat from Morrison did not take the witness stand in the case over his 1999 sale of a lumber mill to a Huntsville, Alabama, businessman.

The jury deliberated for less than an hour before reaching the not guilty verdicts.

Cooper's attorney, Jerry Summers of Chattanooga, told jurors the government's evidence showed that the land buyer, Tony Auyer, was a crook but failed to show any intent by Cooper to defraud anyone.

He said Cooper would not have been at trial if he weren't a political figure.

(Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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