NEW YORK - Jurors in the corruption trial of Norman Seabrook have been ordered to continue deliberations after passing a note to the judge earlier in the day saying they are unable to reach a verdict.
Seabrook, the longtime, powerful head of the city's correction officers' union, is facing charges of fraud and conspiracy.
Seabrook was accused of steering $20 million of union money into a risky hedge fund and taking a $60,000 kickback in return.
The case largely rested on the testimony of star witness Jona Rechnitz, the alleged middleman in the scheme, who says he stuffed the $60,000 in cash into a Ferragamo handbag, and handed it to Seabrook in his SUV.
Seabrook's attorney argued the handbag contained only cigars.
Rechnitz was also a top donor to Mayor Bill de Blasio and made headlines during the trial by describing how political contributions won him special access to the mayor and favors from City Hall, which the mayor denied.
Rechnitz, though, described a long history of fraud and deception, which defense attorneys used to try to dismiss his credibility as a witness.
Seabrook was head of the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association for more than 20 years.
He had hoped to reassume power if cleared of charges, but union leaders voted last week to remove him.
Seabrook supporters said the move violated union bylaws.