Judge unseals documents on juror controversy

Hours after a federal jury convicted two men of plotting to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the judge released court documents relating to a potential rogue juror the defense had complained about.

According to the unsealed record, the defense asked the judge on the second day of the trial to dismiss the juror after learning that the person allegedly told his colleagues that the juror’s decision was made on the case from the outset.

U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker, however, denied the defense’s request to dismiss the juror after questioning the person, finding that the person was not biased or dishonest.

In this artist's rendering, Chief U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker watches from the bench as Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Roth makes opening statements during the first trial of men accused of plotting to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer .

How the juror’s allegation unfolded

“The Court is eminently satisfied that the current record does not provide a basis to remove the subject juror for bias,” Jonker wrote.

“During the interview, the court bluntly presented the report of the alleged statements of the juror in question. The juror repeatedly and consistently denied making such statements,” Jonker wrote. “Based on the Court’s observation of the juror’s demeanor and behavior, these answers were credible. They are also consistent with the juror’s statements on the voir dire – that the juror could set aside any preconceived opinions and decide the case based solely on the evidence and the law presented – assurances that the juror repeated in chambers.”

Leave a Comment