First Coast News is asking the judge in the Corrine Brown case to unseal the transcript of a closed-door hearing in which a juror in the case was removed.
The motion, filed electronically this weekend, cites the lack of a “compelling reason” to keep the transcript sealed. It notes that the trial is over, and that neither the defense nor prosecutors objected to it being unsealed. Attorneys for Channel 4 filed a similar motion.
First Coast News also asked U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan for clarity on an order he issued last week, barring contact with “jurors or potential jurors” until further order of the court. That order came after a reporter at First Coast News tried to reach out to the removed juror, and accidentally left business cards at the home of a sitting juror. It’s not clear if Corrigan’s Thursday order indefinitely bars contact with jurors released from jury duty at the trial’s conclusion.
The Thursday order also prohibited news outlets from contacting the juror who was dismissed over concerns about comments he made regarding “higher beings.” That dismissal is expected to be the basis for a motion for a new trial, which Brown’s attorney plans to file. In a weekend email to a group of criminal defense attorneys, Smith said the jury was “deadlocked” until the juror was dismissed. Smith said the juror “was going to vote not guilty on all counts,” but that there was no evidence that the juror was interfering with deliberations before “the judge decided to kick him off."
Smith called this “a sad example of how important one vote can be.”
First Coats News requested clarity on the judge’s Thursday order on Friday evening via email. His clerk responded saying the judge was asking local media to “not contact the court or court personnel directly. Judge Corrigan is considering the various issues that have been brought to his attention and may want to convene a conference with counsel for the news outlets, perhaps as early as Monday afternoon.”
No time has yet been set for Monday’s hearing.