Juror in Sheldon Silver Trial Asks to Be Excused
It was a bumpy first day of deliberations in the federal corruption trial of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver as one juror told the judge that she wants to quit the case because she's feeling pressured and stressed out in her dealings with the eleven other jurors. NY1's Zack Fink has been covering the trial, and has the latest from the courtroom.
About an hour and half after deliberations began, a juror in the Sheldon Silver federal corruption trial passed a note to the judge asking to be excused.
The note read:
"I am wondering if there is any way I can be excused from this case, because I have a different opinion/view so far in this case and it is making me feel very, very uncomfortable."
Shortly thereafter, a second note went to the judge, this time from a different juror who said one of the jurors was having difficulty understanding the law. Specifically if the Assembly has a code of conduct, and what constitutes an "official action."
Judge Valerie Caproni solicited opinions from the defense and prosecution on how to proceed then called the jury into the courtroom. There she offered mild clarification of the law and pointed the members of the jury to her instructions from earlier in the day. As for the holdout juror, the judge told the jury they need to listen to one another and continue deliberations.
A few hours later, a third note was passed to the judge asking for further clarification on counts five and six which relate to extortion. The judge again pointed to her instructions and deliberations continued. She did not call them back into the courtroom.
Then at about 5:30 pm Tuesday, the judge was preparing to dismiss the jury for the night when she received a fourth and final note from the same juror who felt pressure, this time asking for a meeting with the judge.
Judge Caproni declined to meet with the juror Tuesday night, citing the late hour.
The jury is due back in court Wednesday. Jurors will first be asked if they want to deliberate past noon. Originally the judge had agreed to let them go midday. As for the holdout juror, then judge said they can all sleep on it, and if the juror still wants a meeting in the morning she will deal with it then.