KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- After four days of deliberations, a federal jury has found disgraced former judge guilty on 5 of 6 counts of Misprision of a Felony.
“The facts of this case were highly publicized and clearly tarnished the image of the criminal justice system in the eyes of the public," said U.S. Attorney William C. Killian. "This conviction demonstrates that those in public office who violate the law and abuse the public trust will be held accountable for their actions.”
Baumgartner will be sentenced on March 27. According to the Dept. of Justice, he could face a sentence of up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.
Shortly after the verdict was reached, attorneys for Baumgartner released a statement thanking jurors for their "hard work," adding "clearly they have struggled with the result."
The statement continued by asserting that there were "a number of critical issues" raised during the trial and they planned to appeal. It concluded by saying Baumgartner would not be making any more statements at this time.
Attorneys for both sides in the federal case against Baumgartner returned to the courthouse late Friday afternoon as speculation of a possible decision circled through the courthouse. On Thursday, after three days of deliberation, it appeared the jury was in deadlock.
Judge Greer told the jury they could return a partial verdict, meaning they could return a verdict for the counts on which they've agreed unanimously while continuing deliberations on others.
Judge Greer suggested jurors in the minority reconsider the position of those in the majority, but added,"this is not meant to rush or pressure."
So far, the jury's deliberated for over 20 hours. They must find a verdict for six counts of misprision, charges that Baumgartner concealed a drug conspiracy that his former mistress Deena Castleman was part of.
One of the original counts was thrown out by the judge before the case went to jury.
The jury must find that the government proved four elements beyond a reasonable doubt: that Deena Castleman was part of a conspiracy, that Baumgartner knew, that Baumgartner failed to report the conspiracy, and that he took an affirmative step to cover it up.
Baumgartner stepped down from the bench last year after pleading guilty to official misconduct.