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Jurors in bribery retrial told to continue deliberations after verdict on 1 count, deadlock on other

Norman Seabrook, left, arrives at a federal courthouse

Norman Seabrook, left, arrives at a federal courthouse in Manhattan during his retrial Monday. Credit: Charles Eckert

Jurors in the bribery retrial of former New York City labor leader Norman Seabrook were ordered back to work Tuesday after reporting they had a verdict on one count but were deadlocked on another after less than three hours of deliberation.

Seabrook, 58, is accused of conspiracy and wire fraud for allegedly taking a $60,000 payoff to invest $20 million of the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association's pension and reserve money in the hedge fund Platinum Partners.

Jurors got the case just before 1 p.m. after a two-week trial, and around 3:30 p.m. sent out a note saying they were unanimous on one of the charges but hung on the other, “with no prospect of coming to a resolution.” They didn’t identify which charge they agreed on.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein told them to get back to work. “You haven’t deliberated enough,” he said. “You need to keep going. I will not accept a partial verdict.”

The jurors left at 5 p.m. and are scheduled to resume deliberations Wednesday morning. Last year, a jury deadlocked on the same charges.

The prosecution’s case is hinged to Jona Rechnitz, the real estate wheeler-dealer who became a key figure in corruption probes of City Hall and the NYPD in 2016 when he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and tell about payments to cops, politicians and others.

Rechnitz testified at both trials that he befriended Seabrook and took him on vacations, and then became a conduit for the alleged bribe from Platinum founder Murray Huberfeld, delivering it to Seabrook in a Ferragamo “man-purse” in December 2014.

Lawyers for Seabrook, an influential figure in city politics when he controlled the 9,000-member jail-guard union, contend that Rechnitz made up the bribe story and framed Seabrook to ingratiate himself with prosecutors in a bid for leniency.

Huberfeld pleaded guilty after the first trial. The union lost $19 million of the $20 million investment and Platinum is now in bankruptcy.

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