Jury took just 20 minutes to acquit Atlantic City Councilman

Atlantic City Councilman Marty Small was acquitted today on all charges in a voter fraud trial in Atlantic County. An observer of the trial says that the jury deliberated for just twenty minutes (one-third of the time it took the Judge to charge the jury), and that several jurors later said that they didn’t understand why the state targetted Small and many others employing similar campaign tactics. Small had reportedly turned down several plea bargain deals that would have allowed him to keep his job with the Atlantic City Board of Education — but would have forced his resignation from the City Council and prevented him from holding public office for three years. A source close to Small says the State never asked for his help in investigations against others as a condition of a plea. Councilman Craig Callaway’s local political organization has called Small’s acquittal a victory, but one Small ally suggests that the Councilman will begin to distance himself from Callaway since he blames some members of his organization for putting him into the hot seat in the first place.

Jury took just 20 minutes to acquit Atlantic City Councilman