Richard Baumgartner in federal court. Sketch by: Mike C. Berry
Richard Baumgartner listens to his attorney during closing arguments. Sketch by: Mike C. Berry
The federal jury in charge of deciding the fate of former disgraced Knox County Judge Richard Baumgartner has gone home for the night. It asked Judge Ronnie Greer though a note late Tuesday afternoon to be released at 4:30 p.m. They will resume deliberations Wednesday morning.
The jury deliberatwed for about two and a half hours before the judge released them. There is no indication about how close the jury is to reaching a verdict.
Both sides delivered closing arguments Wednesday morning, weaving evidence and testimony together to tell two very different scenarios of what happened between Baumgartner and Castleman between June 2009 and October 2010.
U.S. Attorney David Lewen argued that Baumgartner "targeted specific people at specific times" and told them lies about Deena Castleman to cover up her drug dealings and their relationship.
Defense attorney Don Bosch emphasized what he called Baumgartner's "moral failings" in his closing. That phrase refers to Baumgartner's pill addiction, infidelity, and the fallout of both. Bosch reminded the jury to think about if the evidence casts any doubt in its minds about the alleged drug conspiracy, what Baumgartner knew about it, and when he knew it.
For the defense, the verdicts come down to whether or not the jury determines, based on the facts, that Baumgartner misreprestented information to people to cover up his drug deals with Castleman or his affair with her.
Much of the three days worth of testimony in the trial was clearly difficult for witnesses who took the stand to deliver. That is in part because some of them had previous relationships with the former judge prior to his indictment; others had certain impressions of him because of his role in the local legal system.
As for Baumgartner, he has been quiet throughout the trial. He often looks engaged with his defense team, listens closely, and looks at the jury. He has shown little emotion in court during the past week.
Baumgartner was initially charged with seven counts of misprision of a felony. That means he allegedly lied about a drug conspiracy involving his mistress to cover it up. Judge Greer dropped one of those counts on Monday due to insufficient evidence.
The jury resumes deliberations at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
Jurors are deliberating the fate of former Knox County judge Richard Baumgartner.
His defense attorney, Don Bosch, completed his closing arguments earlier Tuesday, calling the case a "moral wrong versus a federal crime." He said there's "no remote chance" that Baumgartner concealed a federal drug conspiracy involving his mistress, Deena Castleman.
The jury began deliberations at 2:00 pm. Court will be in recess until they make a decision.
A federal prosecutor called former Knox County judge Richard Baumgartner "manipulative" and an "abuser" in his closing arguments Tuesday morning.
Baumgartner is charged with misprision of a felony, prosecutors say he covered up drug crimes to protect himself and his mistress, Deena Castleman.
U.S. Attorney David Lewen outlined each accusation against Baumgartner, using diagrams and images to weave the evidence against the former judge together.
Lewen said Baumgartner lied so people wouldn't find out about his affair with Castleman and his own drug habit. He even called Baumgartner Castleman's "abuser" not her mentor or friend.
Baumgartner sat quietly in court, listening to Lewen's argument, showing no emotion.
The defense is now in the midst of their closing arguments.