Saturday, November 5, 2016

Tears, doubts, heated debate in Bridgegate jury room

Bridget Anne Kelly and her defense attorney, Michael Critchley, face the press - Record photo by Tariq Zehawi.
Emotional arguments, tears, and heated exchanges characterized much of the jury deliberations in the George Washington Bridge lane closure case, according to a Morris County man who sat on the jury that listened to the case for six weeks and deliberated over another five days.

Paul Berger reports for The Record:

The man, who wished to be identified only as Juror 10, said that the debate among the five men and seven women was so heated that the jury had to be sent home early on Wednesday, the second full day of deliberations.

When they returned their verdict Friday morning, the jury found Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni guilty on all counts of conspiracy, fraud and civil rights charges. The pair, both 44 years old, face a maximum of 20 years in prison.

“It was very hard,” the juror said. “Thinking about somebody going to jail.”

The man, who had no idea of the possible sentence awaiting the pair, added: “I think they were both very nice people, but I just tried to do the best I could as an honest and a fair juror.”

Jurors began deliberating on Monday afternoon following six weeks of testimony involving 35 witnesses and hundreds of text messages, emails, documents, audio and video clips.
Initially, the juror said that he and his colleagues were split roughly eight to four in favor of convicting Kelly and Baroni. 

Although several jurors were adamant that the defendants were guilty, the juror said most kept an open mind until the final day of deliberations.

“We had an agreement that anyone, at any time, could change their vote,” the man said.

Deliberations began around 3 p.m. on Monday after the prosecution concluded its closing arguments. Because the jury had so much information to process, the man said that apart from selecting a foreman, jurors decided not to begin deliberating until they had given themselves an evening to mull over the case.

Tuesday, the first full day of deliberations, was very difficult, the juror said. He declined to provide details, but he said that “things got testy” and that he personally felt as though he was suffering from “information overload.” Several jurors were in tears, he said.

Read the full story here

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