BOSTON (AP) — A judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the corruption case against former Massachusetts Treasurer Tim Cahill after jurors failed to reach a verdict on whether Cahill schemed to run $1.5 million in taxpayer-funded lottery ads to help his unsuccessful 2010 gubernatorial campaign.
Jurors deliberated more than 40 hours over seven days before telling Judge Christine Roach they were hopelessly deadlocked.
The case was the first real test of a 2009 state ethics law. Before the new law was passed, an allegation of conflict of interest would have been a civil rather than a criminal violation.
The new law was sparked by a string of political scandals, including the indictment and subsequent conviction of former Democratic House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi on federal corruption charges.
State Attorney General Martha Coakley, who brought the case against Cahill under the new law, said her office hasn’t yet decided whether to re-try Cahill on the charges.
Coakley said her office decided to prosecute Cahill after finding “significant evidence” that he tried to use the lottery’s money as his own, to help his campaign.
“Faced with this evidence, we certainly could not ignore it. We did not,” she said.
Responding to criticism that the prosecution may have been politically motivated, Coakley said, “It was neither frivolous nor arbitrary for us to bring this case and to ask a jury to decide it.”
“No one understands better than I that we do not win them all, but I believe that our office has done the right thing by bringing this case,” she said.
“I continue to believe in the strength of this case and the strength of our justice system.”
Cahill’s former campaign manager, Scott Campbell, was acquitted by the same jury Tuesday.
Cahill testified that he approved the advertising blitz because he wanted to defend the lottery after the Republican Governors Association tarnished its image through a series of negative ads attacking Cahill and his management of the lottery.