Jurors began deliberations Friday in Dr. Jack Kevorkian's third assisted-suicide trial after his lawyer told them the doctor was the target of vindictive Michigan judges and prosecutors.
The common-law crime under which Kevorkian is charged was unconstitutionally fabricated by a tyrannical Michigan Supreme Court and state Court of Appeals, attorney Geoffrey Fieger told jurors during his closing arguments."Some men and women got together in a back room in Lansing and said, `How do we get Jack Kevorkian?' " Fieger said.
Assistant Prosecutor Lawrence Bunting said Kevorkian's conspiracy theory "sounds like paranoia run rampant."
"That's not a legal argument."
Jurors deliberated for about three hours in the afternoon before breaking for the weekend. Deliberations are scheduled to resume Monday morning.
After being excused from the case, one alternate juror said he would have voted to convict, while another said she was leaning toward acquittal.
Kevorkian, who has been acquitted twice of similar charges, faces up to five years in prison on each of two counts if convicted.
He does not dispute attending the suicides of Sherry Miller and Marjorie Wantz in 1991 and providing the materials used in their deaths. Miller, 43, of Roseville had multiple sclerosis and died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Wantz, 58, of Sodus had severe pelvic pain and was given a lethal drug injection.
Fieger repeated his argument that Kevorkian intended to relieve the women's pain, not to see them die.