Ted Stevens AWOL Juror Lied! Fled Trial to Watch Horse Race!

3 11 2008

More from the “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” Department. Remember Juror #9 – the one that all the other jurors wanted off the jury because of her violent outbursts and rude behavior? We thought SHE was the wingnut juror… Not so. Turns out the honor goes to Juror #4 – the one who disappeared during deliberations, later saying that she had to fly to California to attend her father’s funeral.

Her name is Marian Hinnant, and it turns out – no dead father, and no funeral.

Instead, Hinnant had a plane ticket to see the Breeder’s Cup at the Santa Anita race track and didn’t want to miss it, she told the judge this morning, in what sounded like completely irrational and perhaps even delusional remarks.

“I just wanted to go to the Breeder’s Cup,” she told reporters after a hearing the judge held to find out why she left town and lost contact with him, forcing him to replace her as a juror just hours before the jury found Stevens guilty.

Hinnant also told reporters that she would have found the Alaska senator guilty had she remained on the jury.

“He was guilty, but these other guys are just as guilty,” she said, referring to other members of Congress.

Yup, she just wanted to see a horse race and took off, abandoning the political trial of the century that would determine the fate of the longest sitting Republican member of the Senate. Yup, she had a ticket and didn’t want to miss it. In a trial that Stevens has referred to as a “circus”, no doubt he will try find some way to use this bizarre story to try to add legitimacy to his appeal of the verdict.

“She apologizes to the court. In fact, her father did not die,” her attorney said. “The story about her father was just one that popped into her head.

But Hinnant cut in, and in a thick Kentucky drawl, gave a rambling, incoherent and baffling monologue about her former employers in the horseracing industry in Kentucky. She mentioned drugs, wiretaps and horseracing, but made little sense.

“I’m not the one who was selling the drugs, I’m not the one who was doing the drugs,” she said.

The judge let Juror #4 go stating, “I’m convinced you were not able to deliberate.”

Even after it’s over, this trial is still the gift that keeps giving, and it only get’s more bizarre. I know Stevens will complain, but it seems to me he ended up getting a break by getting this wingnut OFF the jury!

Stevens, in a last ditch effort to regain his lost momentum will air a two minute infomercial in Alaska tonight. Is he perhaps hoping to turn this back into…..a horse race?

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Ted Stevens Trial Resumes

27 10 2008

Well, it’s Monday, and the Alaskan “trial of the century” resumes. Apparently, Juror #4, who left Washington D.C. last week because of the death of her father, could not be reached over the weekend, leaving the Judge to appoint one of the four alternate jurors to take her place.

The jury must now go back to square one, and begin their deliberations over again about whether Senator Ted Stevens is guilty of seven felony indictments for failure to disclose more than $250,000 in gifts and home renovations on his Senate disclosure forms. Two full days of deliberation are lost, but the trial will now continue.

Although it’s impossible to tell exactly where they were in their deliberations before losing – and then regaining – a juror, the jury appears to be moving at a pretty fast clip so far. They got the case Wednesday afternoon and sent Sullivan a note Thursday afternoon asking to go home a little early and saying they had reviewed all of the instructions.

It was a positive development for the jury, which has had more than its share of theatrics since it began its deliberations. The judge took note.

“Everyone was smiling, everyone seems to be in a good mood this morning,” the judge said. “No one appeared to be agitated or displeased. That’s all I have to say.”

Their first day of deliberations last week, jurors asked to go home early because they were stressed and needed “clarity.” The second day, Thursday, 11 of the jurors complained in a note about a 12th juror and asked her to be removed from the panel for being rude and prone to “violent outbursts with other jurors.” The judge resolved the problem with a stern lecture on civility and the jurors left Thursday afternoon, seemingly in harmony.

While it’s fairly common for juries to proceed and reach a verdict with only 11 jurors, less than that is almost unheard of. It’s possible that Judge Sullivan decided to place an alternate, rather than proceeding with 11 jurors, in case Juror #9 acts up again and ends up being removed.





Jury Dismissed for the Day at Stevens Trial.

22 10 2008

The jury in the Senator Ted Stevens corruption trial has left for the day. (door closing noise)

They were supposed to leave at 4:45pm, but asked permission to leave early.

The jury returned to Sullivan’s court at 4:25 p.m. Sullivan said they had sent a note.

Paraphrasing, he said jurors wanted to leave early. “Kind of stressful right now – we need a minute of clarity right now.”

No problem, Sullivan said. “Of course I will let you go.”

What does this mean? I was expecting a request for more dry erase markers, or a question about an electrical invoice, or something else. But “Can we go early because we’re stressed out?” I didn’t see that one.

So, what do you think?