With the atmosphere in the jury room described as âpoisonousâ and one juror under media fire for an alleged gesture made in court last week, calls for a mistrial in the trial of Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Swartz were denied yesterday by New York Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus.
Kozlowski and Swarz face up to 30 years in prison if convicted on charges they looted Tyco International Ltd. of $600 million. Stephen Kaufman, lawyer for Kozlowski, former chief executive officer, said his client could no longer get a fair trial due to the press coverage given to one of the jurors, Bloomberg reported.
Kaufman said the trial had âdegenerated into a mockery of what should be a fair and constitutionally appropriate.â The juror in question is supposed to have made an âOKâ gesture toward the defense table last week, the Wall Street Journal reported. The New York post published a drawing of the alleged incident.
âIt seems to me that it would be inappropriate to declare a mistrial when all 12 jurors, who have devoted six months of their lives to this trial, are prepared to continue,'' Obus said. Last week he denied several mistrial motions stemming from jury notes referring to âintenseâ conflict in the jury room.
Juror No. 4 told the judge the media claims were overblown and that nothing had happened that would keep her from deliberating âin good conscience,â Bloomberg reported, adding the juror is a former teacher and law-school graduate.
In denying the request, Obus said: âWe cannot let what is published in the newspapers dictate what happens here, if that is unnecessary.''