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Jury, in rare acquittal, finds Buffalo man not guilty of drug dealing

After a five-day trial in federal court, a jury acquitted a Buffalo man last week of distributing crack cocaine.

Michael Jones, 34, was arrested on Westminster Avenue in 2015 by two Buffalo police officers who said they found a black bag containing crack in his possession after he initially fled the scene.

The jury acquitted Jones of the felony distribution charge against him and was deadlocked on the alternative — a misdemeanor charge of possession.

"We're grateful for the verdict the jury delivered," said Fonda Dawn Kubiak, an assistant federal public defender. "We believe justice was served."

Kubiak and Assistant Federal Public Defender Mary Beth Covert, who also represented Jones, said the prosecution tried to prove their client was a drug dealer by saying the crack they found on the ground where he was arrested belonged to him.

In Buffalo federal court, most criminal cases end up in plea agreements and, of the few that go the trial, even fewer end up in acquittals for the defendant.

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