WASHINGTON -- The prosecutor in the Mike Espy corruption trial failed to explain clearly what the former agriculture secretary had done wrong, a juror said Friday.

A federal jury on Wednesday cleared Espy of all 30 counts accusing him of taking illegal favors and gifts from companies he regulated, charges stemming from a four-year, $17 million investigation by independent counsel Donald Smaltz."I think what in the end was lacking was a key element or theory," said juror Barbara Bisoni, a 25-year-old accounting consultant.

Another juror, meanwhile, told the Washington Post that the prosecution of Espy was a waste of taxpayer money.

"I hope that we sent a message to these independent counsels. We, the American people, don't want any more of these trivial, petty cases. Seventeen million dollars for this? This was a travesty," juror Anthony Young was quoted as saying. The Post said four other jurors echoed Young's views.

The witnesses and evidence presented over seven weeks by Smaltz failed to show how a complicated and sometimes contradictory set of ethics laws applied to Espy, Bisoni said, leaving the jury confused about whether some charges even amounted to crimes.

For example, she said, documents the jury reviewed indicated some gifts were allowable if a public official reimbursed the giver. Yet Espy was charged with mail fraud for mailing a reimbursement for sports tickets.

"I don't feel they completely met their burden of proof in showing that these things were wrong, or that Espy even knew" what was legal and what was not, she said.

Espy's lawyers, who presented no witnesses, never disputed that he took sports tickets and meals from several companies. But they said the gifts were all proper and that they never swayed Espy's judgment.

Smaltz spokesman William Noakes, a deputy prosecutor, said, "Based on the juror comments, I think we could have made it perhaps simpler and clearer, and perhaps made the case more concise for the jury."

Other jurors could not be reached for comment Friday. The list of jurors' names was sealed by U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina.

Bisoni said an initial poll of jurors showed they agreed Espy was innocent of some charges. But jurors were "about evenly split" or confused on others, differences that were largely resolved by careful reading of the laws involved.