Former Gov. Evan Mecham said he had a "clear conscience" as he awaited a jury's verdict on criminal charges that he concealed a $350,000 campaign loan.

The jury deliberated for 3 hours and 45 minutes after receiving the case Wednesday, and was scheduled to resume Thursday."I'll feel better when it's here (he verdict)," Mecham, 64, told reporters as the jury was dismissed for the night. But he added he expected to sleep well because "I have a clear conscience."

The former governor again insisted that he and his co-defendant, his brother Willard, were innocent of any crime.

But prosecutor Barnett Lotstein told the jury in Wednesday's final portion of the closing arguments that the Mechams' "cloak of innocence has been stripped away thread by thread by thread; Willard Mecham and Evan Mecham stand naked before you now . . . because the evidence is overwhelming of their guilt."

Mecham, a Republican, took office in January 1987 and was removed April 4 when the state Senate convicted him of two unrelated impeachment charges. He also was impeached in connection with the loan, but the Senate decided not to hear that charge for fear of prejudicing his criminal trial.