Jury deliberations begin in federal Jim Carlson trial

By KBJR News 1

Jury deliberations begin in federal Jim Carlson trial

October 2, 2013 Updated Oct 2, 2013 at 4:34 PM CDT

Minneapolis, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The fates of Last Place on Earth owner Jim Carlson, and employees Joseph Gellerman and Lava Haugen, are now in the hands of 12 jurors, who in the words of Judge David Doty, now have some major work to do in their deliberations.

In a four hour, and at times passionate, proceeding, closing arguments were given, today, by both prosecution and defense teams in the federal case which charges Duluth's Jim Carlson with 55 counts related to synthetic drug sales.

Prosecuting Attorney Suria Saxena assured the jury that the evidence presented by prosecution was anything but complicated.

Saxena said Carlson had no intention to mislead his customers, but did intend to mislead the government through misbranding and mislabeling synthetic drugs.

He also said that willful blindness and ignorance of the law were not legitimate excuses to sell synthetic drugs, and that there were no requirements that the defendants either knew the law, or intended to break it.

Defense Attorney John Markham told the jury none of his defendants intentionally mislead the government, as evidenced by Carlson's open, brazen, and at times obnoxious voicing of Last Place's dealings with legal alternatives.

Defense Attorney Randall Tigue told the jury that numerous chemists disagree on the definition of "substantially similar," thus making any charge related to the sale of what he calls incense and watch cleaner null and void.

Defense Attorney Charles Hawkins pleaded with the jury not to let fear take over during deliberations, and that their role was not to moralize or set patterns of conduct in regard to the use and sale of synthetics.

Jurors were read their instructions for deliberations following the closing arguments.

A verdict is expected in the coming days.

Billy Wagness