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'Squawk Box' Defendants Found Not Guilty on Most Counts

In a partial verdict decision, a U.S. jury found former brokers and day-trading executives not guilty on most of the counts they faced in a trial over improper use of information broadcast over brokers' internal " squawk box" systems.

The jury said it was unable to come to a consensus on the first count of the indictment, a conspiracy charge.

Prosecutors accused former stock brokers at Merrill Lynch, Citigroupand Lehman Brothers of taking bribes in exchange for allowing day traders at the now-defunct broker-dealer A.B. Watley to listen to their firms' squawk boxes through open telephone lines.

The jury found Timothy O'Connell, a former Merrill broker, guilty on one count of witness tampering and one count of making false statements, in connection with telling his assistant to lie to government investigators.

O'Connell was found not guilty on the other charges in which the jury reached a consensus.

The remaining six defendants were found not guilty on all the charges in which the jury reached a consensus.

Judge I. Leo Glasser, who is hearing the case, said he will instruct the jury to continue deliberating on the conspiracy charge later this afternoon.

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