In a note to the court today, the jury foreman in the trial of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens asked U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to remove a member of the panel for being “rude, disrespectful and unreasonable” and for “violent outbursts” in deliberation. The note, which the foreman wrote on behalf of the whole jury, said the behavior of juror No. 9, a woman, was throwing the panel “off course.” The note also accused the juror of refusing to follow the law.
Sullivan brought the jurors into court this afternoon to give them what the judge called a "pep talk." Many of them smiled -- including juror No. 9 -- as Sullivan cracked jokes and pushed for comity. "You should encourage civility and mutual respect among yourselves," he told the panel, before sending them back to deliberate. Once they had left, Sullivan said the jurors' reaction to his speech gave him confidence that the panel could continue as it is, with juror No. 9. “They were all smiling,” Sullivan said. “It was significant that no one appeared agitated.”
The judge considered interviewing the foreman to determine the nature of the "violent outbursts," but decided against it. Sullivan said he would take further action if the disruption continued. There are four jury alternates.
The development would seem to explain yesterday: After four hours, the jury sent a note to the judge telling him discussion had become “stressful” and the panel needed a “minute of clarity for all.” Judge Sullivan let the eight women and four men go home 15 minutes early. Deliberation, which began at noon Wednesday, resumed this morning at 9:30 a.m.