The criminal spoofing trial in United States v. Vorley kicked off in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on September 14, 2020. Less than 10 days later, on the first full day of deliberations, jurors sent a note to the court indicating they had reached an impasse, with two jurors holding out against a consensus on the verdict. Following this development, the court denied the defendants’ request to declare a mistrial and instructed the jury to continue deliberations.
The jury’s difficulty in reaching a verdict on the complicated charges may foreshadow a similar outcome that occurred last year in the criminal trial of software developer Jitesh Thakkar. In that case, Jitesh faced spoofing charges stemming from his company’s development of software that was later used by a London-based trader to spoof E-Mini S&P 500 futures contracts, which allegedly led to the “flash crash” of 2010. The trial judge granted Thakkar’s mid-trial motion for a judgment of acquittal on a conspiracy charge based on the lack of evidence of any agreement between Thakkar and the London trader, but the judge allowed the spoofing counts to proceed to the jury. The jury deadlocked 10-2 in favor of Thakkar on those charges and the government eventually dropped its case.
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