Jury returns verdict in trial of former UGA coach - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Jury returns verdict in trial of former University of Georgia football coach

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ATHENS, GA (CBS46/AP) -

A former University of Georgia coach has been found not guilty on all counts in a federal trial about an investment opportunity that lost money.

Jurors returned the verdict after a third day of deliberations in the federal trial of former UGA football coach Jim Donnan.

Prosecutors said the 69-year-old and another man ran a fraudulent investment scheme from September 2007 to December 2010 through GLC Limited, a West Virginia-based company. Prosecutors said the pair promised high rates of return but paid investors with other investors' money.

Prosecutors said Donnan used his extensive personal and professional network to lure investors, including former coaches and football players.

Donnan faced 41 counts, including conspiracy, fraud and money laundering. Jurors deliberated just over 12 hours before returning their not guilty verdict.

"I want to thank my family and my friends and all the support I've had through this ordeal, and also thank the jury for a very fair and just verdict," said Donnan as he left the courthouse.

Donnan's lawyers argued during the trial that the former coach thought his company was doing well financially and he wanted to share the good fortune with friends. They told the court Donnan was duped by his partner about the company's success.

If convicted, Donnan could have faced a lengthy prison sentence.

"I feel like I've been vindicated and I hope I can get my life back together and that's all I've got to say, thank you," said Donnan as he walked away from reporters.

Copyright 2014 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.