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Britney Spears trial jurors struggle to reach a verdict

Jury in the trial of the singer, accused of driving without a license, is ordered to resume deliberations.

October 21, 2008|Harriet Ryan | Ryan is a Times staff writer.

Jurors at Britney Spears' driving-without-a-license trial said Monday that they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict, but a judge ordered them to continue deliberating.

"I'm going to ask you to make another attempt to resolve whatever differences you have," said Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Steele.

Jurors, who began deliberations Friday, resumed their discussions but twice sent notes to the judge saying they were deadlocked. Questioned by the judge after a third note, the foreman said the panel was split 10 to 2. He was instructed not to reveal whether the majority favored conviction or acquittal.

With each return to the jury room, the foreman told the judge, "everyone has become more entrenched."

But after several panelists said they thought reaching a verdict was still possible, the judge told them to continue deliberating. They later asked to review a transcript of the testimony of Spears' father, Jamie, the sole defense witness.

Spears, 26, did not attend the trial. She faces a maximum of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted of the misdemeanor.

The charge stems from an Aug. 6, 2007, fender bender in a Studio City parking lot. She originally faced an additional count of hit and run, but the charge was dropped after she reached a civil settlement with the owner of the other vehicle.

During the trial, an attorney for Spears argued that she was not required to carry a California license because she considers her native Louisiana her true home and held a valid Bayou State license at the time of the accident.

harriet.ryan@latimes.com

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