A Problem That Could Have Been Worse

Jury deliberations in the perjury and obstruction of justice trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby got off to a rocky start this morning when we learned that one of the jurors inappropriately saw or heard or read something about the case over the weekend. The juror, a woman, was promptly booted off the jury and U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton then agreed to allow deliberations to continue with just 11 jurors. The defense had asked him to allow the jury to proceed this way. Prosecutors had wanted an alternate juror to replace the dismissed one and for the deliberations to start from scratch with a newly-constituted jury. Apparently, neither side wanted a mistrial.

So on we go. Why did Libby's lawyers vote for 11? Probably because they saw the start of brand-new deliberations as a pressure point among the panel that might have prompted a quick series of guilty verdicts. Why did prosecutors want to add the alternate? Maybe they felt that the alternate was a pro-government sort who might have pushed the panel into finally deciding the case. Maybe it was a combination of a lot of things and maybe if Libby is convicted we'll be hearing more about this hiccup in a trial that has seen plenty of burps.

By Andrew Cohen |  February 26, 2007; 12:35 PM ET
Previous: What a Good Judge Would Have Done | Next: Meanwhile, at the Padilla Hearing

Comments

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I'm slightly amazed that jurors self-report accidental exposure to trial-relevant information. Are there any studies as to what percentage of jurors are so scrupulous? (I sure wouldn't be in such an interesting situation.)

Posted by: CeltoTexican | February 26, 2007 04:17 PM

Hey Lighten up on the AG he is the Grandson of Illegal Aliens & it is proven fact that Mexicans have a corruption gene so he is not responsible for his actions!

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