A federal jury on Friday evening found former Puerto Rico Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila not guilty of corruption charges after deliberating for three and a half hours.
Acevedo Vila, 48, faced up to 20 years in prison on nine charges of illegal campaign contributions. Earlier this month, U.S. Judge Paul Barbadoro warned prosecutors that they had yet to provide enough evidence to prove that the former governor was aware of illegal donation schemes within his campaign.
Acevedo Vila's trial began in early February. He was indicted one year ago after a two-year federal investigation.
After the decision, Acevedo Vila thanked the eight women and four men on the jury, his family and friends, supporters, and the people of Puerto Rico.
"The first thing that I want to say is precisely to give thanks to the Almighty God, who has accompanied me, my family, and many people of Puerto Rico, in this [trial] that was not one month - it was four years," Acevedo Vila told reporters after the jury cleared him of all charges.
Acevedo Vila is a member of the Popular Democratic Party, which favors retaining Puerto Rico's commonwealth status. He served as Puerto Rico's resident commissioner, the island's non-voting congressional representative, from 2001 to 2004.
Acevedo Vila became the commonwealth's eighth governor in January 2005, and lost his re-election bid in November against current Gov. Luis Fortuño, a member of the New Progressive Party, which is pro-statehood.