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Oakland Raiders, NFL trial, to be continued -- Joe's downward skid

The bitter suit that saw Al Davis and the National Football League scrimmage through 55 days of testimony in a Los Angeles courtroom was all for nought. The jury couldn't reach a verdict after 13 days of deliberations, resulting in a mistrial. A new trial, to determine whether Davis can move his Raiders from Oakland to Los Angeles against the league's wishes, was scheduled for Sept. 21.

The case's complexities were such that United States District Court Judge Harry Pregerson tried to clarify the jury's duties -- with 52 pages of instructions.

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The tome hardly cut through the confusion, which found eight jurors siding with Davis and two with the NFL. After the mistrial was declared, Davis charged one of the jurors, Thomas Gelker, was an NFL "plant." Though seemingly far-fetched, the mudslinging remark was in keeping with the general tenor of the acrimonious proceedings.

Gelker even was criticized by some of his fellow jurors, who said he was inflexible in his support of the league and opposition to Davis. Supposedly no one who sat on the case had any pro football connections, but Gelker later admitted to having a relative who once owned a franchise in the now-defunct World Football League.

The judge, however, expressed satisfaction in Gelker's ability to serve. He also allegedly vowed to shorten the second trial and focus on whether the NFL violated antitrust laws in preventing the Raiders' move.

Both parties to the controversy are reportedly ready to do battle again, despite astronomical legal fees.

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