Meanwhile, Back at the Courthouse…
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
I'm at the courthouse, and as Christy said in her update, one of the jurors was exposed to media coverage of the trial. Nobody really expected anything early this morning, so everyone is scrambling into the media room to try and figure out what's going on. Both teams are in the courtroom, and Fitzgerald, Wells, Jeffress and the judge are back with the jurors. Lots of finger drumming, toe tapping and leg swinging on the part of those left waiting. I'm sure the message from the judge to come back to court this morning was like a tazer jolt to everyone's already jangled nerves this morning.
What does this all mean? Well I, like everyone else, look to Christy:
They will voir dire the juror in question, as well as all of the members of the jury to see what that juror saw and what, if any, impact it had in deliberations. It could be as innocuous as seeing a headline.
I'm wondering if this is a product of the Toensing nullification argument special in the WaPo, to be perfectly honest.
Once they go through the discussion with the jurors on the record, there will be some determination made as to whether or not there is a substantial impact on the jury deliberations — or whether there is cause for a mistrial. If a mistrial is declared, they will have to retry the whole case.What is more likely is that the judge will determine that what the juror saw did not have a substantial impact. Judge Walton will then admonish the jury not to have contact with media — period. He may decide to sequester the jury from here on out. He will likely issue a cautionary instruction on how this should or should not enter the jury room. But we'll have to see what the level of exposure was to know what will happen.And now we wait.