Updated 03/08/2012 06:47 AM
Deliberations delayed in ballot fraud trial after juror falls ill
There's been an unexpected delay in the Troy ballot fraud trial after a juror was taken to the hospital to receive medical attention. This came on the fourth day of deliberations in the case against two Rensselaer County Democrats. Solomon Syed has more on what this could mean for the case.
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TROY, N.Y. -- Deliberations in the Troy ballot fraud trial were suspended Wednesday after a juror was carried out on a stretcher because of an undisclosed medical condition.
Michael LoPorto's attorney, Michael Feit, said, "It's my hope that juror number two is going to be perfectly ok, she gets checked out, and she's able to return here."
That's what they hope, but the truth is, bad news for this juror could be welcome news for both defendants: Rensselaer County Democratic Elections Commissioner Ed McDonough and former former City Councilman Michael LoPorto. If the juror has to be dismissed for health reasons, it could result in a mistrial.
Special prosecutor Trey Smith said, "What are the chances that you're going to get me to speculate about something we don't know the answer to."
But we do know if the juror gets dismissed, all parties would have to agree on an 11-person jury. And the chances of that?
Feit said, "I think I once read one case in the history of New York jurisprudence where a jury continued without 12 jurors in a felony case."
However, that juror has not been dismissed. And pending what her doctors say, it's not clear how long she can be excused before the situation needs to be reevaluated.
Smith said, "Those are questions that need to be addressed to the judge, and he has displayed good judgement throughout this case, and I'm assuming that he will continue to do so."
The judge dismissed the rest of the jurors and asked them to return by 9 a.m. Thursday. However, we don't know when they'll actually resume deliberations because they can't without a full jury. The court hopes to have an update on the sick juror's condition by the time the jury returns to court.