CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — A federal judge declared a mistrial Friday in the campaign fraud case against a former coal company president.
No verdict was reached Friday after nearly 12 total hours of deliberation over two days.
James Laurita Jr., the former president and CEO of Mepco, allegedly used employees of his company to make contributions to several federal campaigns. Mepco, LLC is a coal mining and processing company located in Morgantown.
A 12-member jury was deadlocked after deliberating for roughly seven hours Friday, following approximately five hours of deliberation on Thursday, ultimately reaching no unanimous verdict in Laurita’s case.
The jury concluded that there is no reasonable probability that a unanimous verdict would occur. Thus, U.S. District Judge Irene M. Keeley declared mistrial in the case.
With Keeley’s ruling, the government is free to prosecute the case again. Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office are unsure if they will pursue a retrial at this time.
A federal grand jury indicted Laurita in September on multiple counts, including scheming to cause false statements to the Federal Election Commission; causing contributions in the name of another; causing excessive contributions; and causing false statement to the Federal Election Commission.
Laurita is also accused of creating a scheme to use employees and their spouses to make campaign contributions with company funds. The donations are believed to have occurred from March 2010 to July 2013.