Venezuelan cash suitcase trial in US goes to jury

MIAMI (AP) -- After an eight-week trial, a jury in Miami is deciding whether a Venezuelan businessman violated U.S. law in a Latin American political scandal that involved a suitcase full of cash.

Jurors began deliberations Friday after two days of closing arguments in the trial of 41-year-old Franklin Duran. He's accused of conspiracy and acting as an illegal Venezuelan agent in the U.S.

Prosecutors say Duran and others came to Miami last year to conceal the source of a suitcase stuffed with $800,000 in Venezuelan cash that was discovered in Argentina. The money was supposedly a gift to the campaign of Argentina's new president Cristinia Fernandez.

Duran claims he was never a Venezuelan agent. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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