CAMDEN – At one point during Frank Nucera’s retrial, Federal Judge Robert Kugler said he had “seen this movie before”.

At first glance, the second hate crime trial of the racist former Bordentown Township police chief appears to be heading towards the same end: a quashed trial.

And that means an important decision could loom for federal prosecutors on whether to try Nucera for a third time.

For now, that question remains unanswered as everyone in the case waits to see if a predominantly white jury, having deliberated for about 10 hours in the past two days, can resolve their differences.

The panel handed a note to the judge on Tuesday saying he was at an impasse over whether Nucera, 64, assaulted a handcuffed black teenager at a township hotel in September 2016.

Defense attorney Rocco Cipparone Jr. has requested that the trial be set aside, but Kugler noted the case was “difficult” to sort out and ordered jurors to return on Wednesday to continue their deliberations.

He asked jurors that they must be unanimous on any verdict, but that they could return a partial verdict if they agreed on at least one of the two counts of hate-motivated assault and deprivation of civil rights. This helped jurors in the first trial reach a partial verdict after 45 hours of eight-day deliberation.

Kugler told jurors to keep an “open mind” about the evidence, but not to change their mind for the sole purpose of reaching a verdict.

“Your vote must be that – your vote,” he said.

Much like in the first trial, this jury is deadlocked on the two most serious charges in the indictment, which could sack Nucera for decades.

He is already considering a 28-month offer after being convicted in the fall of 2019 of lying to the federal government about the alleged attack on the 18-year-old Trenton victim.

Nucera insisted to FBI special agents that he had never “touched” the teenager while two subordinate cops testified that they saw Nucera hit the handcuffed inmate.

In both trials, police whistleblower and dog handler Nathan Roohr said he saw Nucera’s palm and slammed the teenager’s head against a metal door jamb after Stroye stopped to berate officers.

He handed over 81 surreptitious tapes to federal authorities of Nucera’s profane and racist diatribes against blacks, including one capturing Chief calling Stroye “n *** er” just hours after the alleged attack.

Roohr’s testimony was supported in part by the retired Detective Sgt. Salvatore Guido, who described Nucera pushing the teenager behind his back as he was driven to a police car.

But, as federal prosecutors and Cipparone noted in their fences on Monday, a reluctant Guido often turned around and softened his testimony about the former white cop’s actions.

Maybe that’s what hangs up the jury, but anyone can guess, Cipparone said The Trentonian in an interview outside the courtroom.

“I can’t read in it,” he said. “I always believed there was a reasonable doubt.”

A retrial for Nucera, who saw his six-figure pension frozen, would have meant investing more money in a case that has already cleared him, his lawyer said.

Nucera has spent well over six figures on his defense so far, said Cipparone, reluctant to provide an exact figure for his legal services.

But now the federal government is paying the legal bill for the racist leader after Cipparone became a court-appointed lawyer in October.

Cipparone said his client filed an affidavit and the judge held a hearing before agreeing that Nucera could no longer afford to privately retain the legal beagle, whose fees are well above the modest hourly rate of $ 155 that ‘he is paid by the courts.

Otherwise, Nucera, who is also appealing her conviction, faced a two-pronged war of attrition against unlimited government with limited funds, as her daughter, Christine, returned to Bordentown to help her parents short of money.

“They can bleed a defendant blank,” Cipparone said.

As secret tapes show he definitely has a barking cop dog in the fight, Cipparone, a former federal prosecutor, said he knew what he would do with the case if he was still there. across the courtroom and the jury is hanged again.

“Sometimes that’s the principle of the case. As a prosecutor, are you sending a message there? Said Cipparone. “But I think it was overkill to try it a second time, frankly.

“He has already been sentenced to prison. He lost his career. He lost his reputation. At any given time, how much is enough? I just think there are too many warts to try it again. If I were a prosecutor, I wouldn’t want to do it a third time.