FILE PHOTO: Scott Warren, charged with harboring two undocumented migrants, poses in this photo taken in Ajo, Arizona, U.S., on April 12, 2019. Courtesy No More Deaths/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
TUCSON, Ariz. (Reuters) – An Arizona jury on Tuesday said it was unable to reach a verdict in the trial of U.S. human rights activist Scott Warren, who was accused of harboring two undocumented migrants and conspiring to hide them from law enforcement.
The Tucson jury remained deadlocked after it was given an extra day to deliberate on federal charges against Warren stemming from his January 2018 arrest by U.S. Border Patrol in Ajo, Arizona.
The eight female and four male jurors said in a statement that they would not be able to reach a unanimous decision, as is required under U.S. law, on the three charges against Warren.
Warren faced one count of criminal conspiracy to transport and harbor illegal aliens and two counts of harboring them at a building in Ajo used by groups providing water, food and first aid to migrants crossing Arizona’s harsh southern deserts.
The trial had been expected to set a precedent on what aid U.S. citizens can legally give undocumented migrants after the administration of President Donald Trump urged federal prosecutors to crack down on people found sheltering them.
Federal prosecutors now have the option to request a new trial, with a new jury. They could also drop the charges against Warren – a move requested by United Nations officials and over 137,000 people who have signed a petition demanding his release.
Reporting by Paul Ingram in Tucson; Writing by Andrew Hay; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien