Juror dismissed after alleged bribery in Feeding Our Future trial

(KSTP) – The sixth week of the federal trial for seven people charged in the massive Feeding Our Future fraud scheme got off to a surprising start on Monday as a juror was dismissed due to a bribery allegation.

Officials say someone showed up at the juror’s home over the weekend and offered her a bag of cash to acquit the defendants.

Six men and one woman are charged in this first case stemming from the largest pandemic relief fraud in the country. They face a variety of charges, including conspiracy, wire fraud and bribery worth $40 million.

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Following jury selection, opening statements got underway in the final days of April. The defense continued closing statements Monday after the juror was dismissed and the judge questioned the other jurors about unlawful contact.

Additionally, the judge also seized the defendants’ phones as investigators look into the alleged bribery.

Prosecutors have said the defendants took advantage of the relaxed rules related to the Federal Child Nutrition Program during the COVID-19 pandemic for their own gain. The defense attorneys have said many of their clients never knowingly participated in any fraud and blamed the nonprofit sponsors and the state.