Updated 02/18/2010 11:42 PM
Jury Deliberations Hit Possible Snag In NYPD Sodomy Trial
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The jury deciding the fate of three police officers involved in an alleged attack on a Brooklyn man hit a snag Thursday after information from a published news report was brought up during deliberations.
The latest development came after jurors sent a note to the judge saying that a female juror told the rest that Kern was twice convicted of police brutality in the past.
The judge quickly explained Kern was exonerated and says the juror, known as juror number six, understands she was misinformed. After a talk with lawyers, the judge said everyone agrees she's fit to continue.
Defense lawyers, however, said they still want to talk to their clients
about whether or not juror number six should stay or go.
"Sure we are upset because it impacts the integrity of the process," said defense attorney Richard Murray.
Earlier in the day, the jury sent several other notes to the judge, asking to see all physical evidence from the case and to listen again to testimony from two officers who say they witnessed the alleged attack.
Additionally, the jury also asked to hear again the testimony from the doctors who testified.
Officer Richard Kern faces up to 25 years in prison if he's found guilty of sodomizing Michael Mineo at the Prospect Park subway station in October of 2008.
Officers Andrew Morales and Alex Cruz are accused of covering up the alleged assault, and face up to four years each.
The verdict hinges on DNA evidence from Kern’s police baton and testimony of a police officer who says he saw Kern put his retractable baton into Mineo's buttocks.
The defense has accused Mineo, pictured below, of exaggerating his claims so he can cash in on a $440 million lawsuit against the city. But the prosecutor says witnesses solidified his allegations.
"Witnesses came and took this stand and said that Michael Mineo was screaming that somebody shoved a walkie-talkie up his [buttocks],” said prosecutor Charles Guria during his closing arguments. “Before there were lawsuits, Michael Mineo was showing blood on his hands and indicating that something had been done to him rectally. Before there were lawsuits, Michael Mineo was convinced to go to the hospital."
"They took Mineo's allegations. They ran with it,” said Murray. “They ignored the scientific evidence in the case. They ignored what the police laboratory told them."
Kern has pleaded not guilty to aggravated sexual abuse and assault. Morales and Cruz have pleaded not guilty to hindering prosecution and official misconduct.