Jury split on Black trial

But they returned to their deliberations after being told by US District Judge Amy St Eve they must make “every reasonable effort” to reach a unanimous decision.

Canadian-born Conrad Black and three other defendants are accused of swindling shareholders in the Hollinger International newspaper empire out of more than $US60 million ($A70 million) by skimming from the sale of hundreds of newspapers in Canada and the United States.

Lord Black, a former owner of the Fairfax media chain which runs Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, faces 13 criminal counts, including mail fraud, wire fraud and racketeering.

The judge asked the prosecution and the defence whether they would prefer to have a partial verdict or to press the jury to reach unanimity on all charges.

Defence lawyers said they would prefer a partial verdict, saying the jury had worked hard enough over the nine days.

But prosecutors said the jury ought to be advised of the option either to reach a partial verdict, which would be final, or to continue deliberations.

The judge said that she would not accept a partial verdict at this time but would “consider other options” if the jury sent her another note.

Lord Black, 62, is also accused of abusing his corporate perks when he got a cut-rate deal on buying a New York apartment, had the company pay for his wife’s birthday party and used the corporate jet for a tropical vacation.

Lord Black, a member of Britain’s House of Lords who once controlled the third largest newspaper empire in the world, could face up to 91 years in jail on fraud, racketeering, obstruction of justice and tax evasion charges.

The government is also seeking the forfeiture of 92 million dollars in assets.