TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WMBB) — A Lynn Haven businessman fought the federal government to a draw Thursday.

After three days of trial and about 9 hours of deliberations jurors in the James Finch bribery trial announced that they were deadlocked on both charges. Finch, the owner of Phoenix Construction, is accused of conspiracy and bribery over $45,000 in payments he made to Antonius Barnes, a former Lynn Haven City Commissioner.

Jurors split, in large part, over the testimony of Barnes and another key witness, Mike White, the former city manager for the city of Lynn Haven. White claimed that Finch told him privately that he had bribed Barnes and that he was not worried about an upcoming vote on a Phoenix project with the city because Barnes would, “dance if I told him to.”

White did nothing about this statement at the time but after he was arrested in a multimillion-dollar scheme involving city funds after Hurricane Michael he agreed to tell the FBI everything he knew about corruption in the city.

Prosecutors pointed out during the trial that while White might not seem credible but he had no way of knowing that investigators would find actual bank records showing $45,000 in payments from Finch to Barnes.

However, Finch and Barnes both maintained that they are innocent and the money was simply a loan between friends to help Barnes start an insurance agency. During the trial, Finch’s defense team pointed out that the votes on city contracts were all vetted by city staff and always approved by a unanimous vote of the commission. Finch did not need to bribe Barnes, the defense argued.

Judge Mark Walker met with the jurors privately after he declared a mistrial and got comments from them that he relayed to the court. Walker said the jurors were evenly split and that some of them did not understand some of the particulars of the case. They said that while the prosecutors and the defense attorneys clearly knew the case very well that information did not always come through to them.

Jurors said they wanted to hear from Finch’s secretary, or anyone else, who might have known about the payments.

“What was that person told?” Walker said.

He added that the jurors did not think White or Barnes “were very credible.”

While deliberating jurors asked for more information about Barnes’s plea agreement. Prosecutors argued that Barnes was lying to them on the stand after he took a plea agreement on a bank fraud charge. The plea agreement states that Barnes would testify that Finch bribed him. However, when the time came, Barnes refused to do so testifying that he did not sell his vote.

The jurors were split into two camps with one agreeing with the defense that it did not make sense for Finch, who has an incredibly successful construction business that deals in large contracts across the country to bother to bribe Barnes.

The other camp said, “You don’t give a commissioner $45,000 if you don’t want something,” Walker recalled. “Common sense says it’s a bribe.”

The jurors also took issue with White’s demeanor during his testimony. White repeatedly looked at the jurors while talking. When Guy Lewis, Finch’s attorney, brought up how unnatural White was acting the witness said prosecutors told him jurors want the witness to look at them.

These jurors apparently disagreed.

They “didn’t love Mr. White looking at them,” Walker said.

And in a moment of levity after a long day, Walker noted that the jurors were amused that Lewis scolded White for looking at the jury and then he did that very same thing for the next 10 minutes.

Finch and Lewis declined to comment outside of the courtroom. Walker and the attorneys scheduled a retrial in the case for May 16. A request for comment from federal prosecutors remains unanswered.