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Ventura jury deadlocked, told to give it ‘one more shot’

Plus: The firing of two Minneapolis cops is upheld; Krugman takes on the Medtronic deal; and plans for the iconic Ace Hardware site in St. Paul are revealed.

Illustration by Ken Avidor

“I’ve Been Defamed!” watch (deadlocked version): With the judge telling the jury in the Jesse Ventura case to go back and try again, Marino Eccher of the PiPress says, “For Ventura to win the lawsuit — and win damages (his attorneys have suggested an award of $15 million) — the jury of six men and four women must find three things: that Kyle’s story was false, that it was defamatory and that the author knew it was false or had serious doubts about its veracity. Jurors have spent close to 30 hours over five days mulling those issues. At midday Monday, they seemed ready to go no further.”

From WCCO-TV, “Hamline Law School Professor David Schultz described to us what could be the big hold up. ‘The more likely scenario is that it’s a 10-person jury that is a split jury, that you have several jurors who have made up their mind and want to rule in favor of Kyle, several in favor of Ventura and they are not going to be able to bridge that gap. They’re just stuck,’ Schultz said.” Uh, yeah.

In the Strib, Randy Furst writes, “Jurors looked grim-faced as they returned to the jury room. Although the reasons for the jury’s deadlock are unclear, the attorneys for both sides were called to Kyle’s chambers at 4:15 p.m. and asked by the judge to answer some questions and return 15 minutes later. The attorneys did so. They emerged to tell reporters the jury would resume deliberations at 9 a.m. today, but gave no insight into the substance of the discussions with Kyle.”

Speaking of lawyers: Paul Walsh of the Strib reports on three members of the prominent local firm Robins, Kaplan, Miller and Ciresi were injured in a car accident up north over the weekend. “Ciresi said Thomas Kayser was driving the group from Madden’s to Ciresi’s cabin nearby when the crash occurred. The car was a Cadillac Eldorado, what Ciresi called, ‘One of those big, old tanks. Thank God they were in that thing.’”

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Remember those two members of Minneapolis’ finest who mixed it up in Green Bay last year? They’re still fired. Says Dave Chanen in the Strib, “Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau never wavered on her highly publicized December decision to fire two police officers accused of using racial slurs, berating local officers and disparaging the chief herself during an off-duty incident in Green Bay, Wis. … On Monday, Harteau reacted to the commission’s decision to uphold the dismissals. In a prepared statement, she said it is never easy to fire someone.” But sometimes it’s easier than others.

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Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib has some new fund-raising data, “The Minnesota House Democratic caucus said it would post big numbers in their report due out Tuesday. According to the caucus, the Democratic campaign organization, fighting to keep House control in DFL hands, has raised $1.5 million this year, $780,000 in since June 1 alone. It has more than $1.5 million cash-on-hand to continue the battle. In a release, the caucus said it had already raised more than the DFL caucus did in all of 2010.”

The Strib picks up New York Times columnist Paul Krugman’s takedown of Medtronic-style tax avoidance schemes. “There are some good reasons to tax profits,” Krugman writes. In general, U.S. taxes favor unearned income from capital over earned income from wages; the corporate tax helps redress this imbalance. We could, in principle, maintain taxes on unearned income if we offset cuts in corporate taxes with substantially higher tax rates on income from capital gains and dividends — but this would be an imperfect fix, and in any case, given the state of our politics, this just isn’t going to happen.” No kidding.

KMSP-TV’s story, by Iris Perez, on the two men in yesterday’s accident on the big CAPX2020 power line project says, “First responders attempted to resuscitate the men, one of whom is from the Twin Cities and the other is from Osseo, Wis. Although both victims were flown by helicopter to trauma centers in the metro, the Minnesota worker died. The condition of the man from Wisconsin remains unknown. Both men were employed by Donovan Construction, and they were working on a tower connected to a 250-mile transmission power line that is a part of the CapX2020 project — a $2-billion expansion of the electrical grid in Minnesota.”

The algae bloom on Lake of the Woods is pretty thick. For MPR, John Enger writes, “Scientists don’t yet know exactly how much blooms have expanded, but early findings suggest the algae is getting thicker, likely due to a combination of climate change and decades-old pollution. … Algae growth patterns mirror steady warming trends in the lake, according to the report. Since the 1960s, the lake has lost a month of freeze over. Thats an extra month every year for water to heat up, and for algae to soak up the sun.”

The plan for replacing the iconic Ace Hardware store on West Seventh in St. Paul has been revealed. Says Frederick Melo of the PiPress, “A six-story, two-building complex combining a hotel, market-rate apartments, townhomes, retailers and up to 300 parking stalls could soon replace the Ace Seven Corners Hardware Store. … The company announced in January that it had planned ‘an exciting mixed-use project’ to replace the 80-year-old, family-run hardware store and the adjacent Free at Last Church of God in Christ.” And who doesn’t get excited by the thought of “mixed use”?