In the first criminal trial tied to the stunning collapse of Stanford Financial Group, a federal judge in an unusual move cut off jury deliberations and granted acquittals to two employees accused of shredding documents in the alleged $7 billion fraud.

The jury had deliberated for more than a day when it sent a note asking visiting Senior Judge Richard Goldberg if it could acquit on a conspiracy charge but convict Stanford global security chief Thomas Raffanello and technology officer Bruce Perraud on three other charges.