CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - A jury found state Sen. Jerry Cooper not guilty on all counts in his land fraud trial.
"We're thrilled by this news but not surprised. We had full faith in Senator Cooper all along. Now we look forward to having him back in Nashville to do the work of the Senate," said Senator Joe Haynes, Democratic Caucus chairman.
Cooper, 59, was charged with bank fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy. The Democrat from Morrison did not take the witness stand in the case over his 1999 sale of a lumber mill to a Huntsville, Ala., businessman.
The jury deliberated for less than an hour before reaching the not guilty verdicts. Cooper's attorney, Jerry Summers of Chattanooga, told jurors the government's evidence showed that the land buyer, Tony Auyer, was a crook but failed to show any intent by Cooper to defraud anyone. Summers also said Cooper would not have been at trial if he weren't a political figure.