A federal judge on Thursday warned jurors at Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens' corruption trial to be courteous and respectful of each other after the panel's leader described “violent outbursts” that threatened to derail final deliberations.
Before quitting for the day, 11 members of the 12-person jury asked U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to immediately dismiss a female juror, describing her as rude, disrespectful and unreasonable. “She has had violent outbursts with other jurors, and that's not helping anyone,” said Sullivan, reading the note publicly to Stevens, his lawyers and Justice Department prosecutors in an afternoon session.
Sullivan, who rejected suggestions to question the jury foreman and the accused juror, instead brought the panel of eight women and four men back into the courtroom for what he called a “pep talk.”
“You should encourage civility and mutual respect among yourselves,” Sullivan told jurors, with some nodding and others smiling before heading back to continue deliberations.
After the jury left, Sullivan pronounced his solution a temporary success.
The jury ended its second day of deliberations without reaching a verdict. Jurors sent the judge a final evening note saying they had “exhausted” themselves and would continue deliberations today.
The middle-aged juror in question was identified in the note by her jury number. During jury selection, this person said she worked in the National Guard's property office and had a background in accounting.
Hours after receiving the case Wednesday, jurors had told the judge that things had become stressful and asked to go home. The midday note said “jurors are getting off course.”
Stevens, the longest-serving Senate Republican, is charged with lying on Senate financial disclosure documents to conceal $250,000 in renovations at his home and other gifts from his friend, millionaire oil contractor Bill Allen.