MONTGOMERY, Ala., Oct. 25, 2006 -- Judge Mark Fuller has ordered an evidentiary hearing "on issues relating to possible post-trial contact with Juror #5" in the post-verdict phase of the government corruption trial involving former Governor Don Siegelman and businessman Richard Scrushy.
Judge Fuller also instruct both defendants to attend with emphasis: "Defendants Don Eugene Siegelman and Richard M. Scrushy SHALL attend along with their counsel."
Scrushy attorney Art Leach, as is customary, is reserving any comment for the courtroom, but in his reply brief to the government response concerning the defendants' joint motion for new trial, Leach had the following to say:
In the brief Leach also requested that the judge enter an order directing the attorney for Juror A (also known as Juror #5) to provide the original affidavits to the Court in camera and under seal.
Acting U.S. attorney Louis Franklin says he has no comment and I have been unable to reach Siegelman attorney David McDonald.
The government response to the joint motion for new trial filed by the defendants had the following to say regarding the affidavits related to Juror #5:
The questions concern affidavits from the juror, his wife, and pastor allegedly passed to the Siegelman team by an attorney for the juror. The government alleges violation of Local Rule 47.1 which prohibits contact between lawyers and jurors without authorization of the court.
The government has major issues with the affidavits of Juror A, who allegedly feels remorse over his verdict, and talked in his affidavits about outside information coming into the jury deliberations. The government questions who did the questioning.
The government continuously raises questions about how the defense received the affidavits. "Most questionable, is how the unknown inquisitors provided the affidavits to Defendents. Permitting Defendants to engage in further investigation of the jurors, much less granting them a new trial, on the basis of this flimsy, unsubstantiated, highly speculative, anonymous information would be to sanction a fishing expedition of the type the Supreme Court has specifically admonished courts not to grant postverdict."
Prosecutors say at its worst the circumstances surrounding Juror A's affidavits might be sinister:
"Given all the peculiar, questionable, and unusual circumstances surrounding his affidavits, which Defendants do not even attempt to explain, Juror A's purported willingness to impeach his verdict, more than a month after the conclusion of the trial, is highly suspect at best, and sinister at worst."
Addressing questions raised by the government attorneys for Scrushy deny they had anything to do with obtaining the affidavits related to Juror A:
In a footnote the filing questions the knowledge of the government as to how fax machines function:
The filing goes on to state that an inquiry, "not the outright dismissal of Defendant's motion wihtout further inquiry" is the way to resolve the questions about the many issues involved.
As to the government's question as to why the juror, who lives in Ozark, would file an affidavit in Jefferson County, the reply states:
In his reply to the government response filed last Friday, David McDonald had the following to say concerning allegations that attorneys may have violated local rule 47.1:
The filing says Siegelman's attorneys were contacted by phone by another lawyer, one for named Juror A and that is what led to the acquisition of the said affidavits in which Juror A says he felt uneasy about his verdict and alleging outside information was brought into the jury room, among other allegations.
WSFA.com will cover events at the courthouse on Tuesday morning. It should be quite interesting.