“I hope this will be the last message we receive from a juror in this case,” U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan said in court Monday, after receiving a text message from a concerned juror in the Corrine Brown case.
The former congresswoman was found guilty last Thursday on 18 of 22 counts in a federal fraud and corruption trial.
He was no doubt disappointed when, a few hours later, the juror sent another text. In an order issued a short while ago, Corrigan said the court “assumed the juror would not communicate further but in fact the juror sent a follow-up text a few hours after the hearing.”
Text 1I just heard on news about a juror not voting guilty on all charges because of Holy Spirit telling him so. But that is not true in the partial vote we had taken on roll call before removal
Text 2“Meaning he stated that before any evidence was brought into the room”
The texts were an apparent reaction to a news story, in which a former juror discussed the removal of Juror 13. That juror was removed for saying he’d been told by the Holy Spirit that Corrine Brown was not guilty of all charges.
The meaning of the texts isn’t entirely clear, but the messages are concerning. Corrigan noted that he personally had no experience with being contacted by jurors post-verdict, and was uncomfortable with it.
"Jurors should really not be contacting the court,” he said Monday. “Obviously, we can’t stop them from doing so… [but] they should not be worrying about what they’re reading in the media.”
The judge added that some post-verdict curiosity was “understandable its human nature,” but noted that jurors’ job has ceased. “Once a verdict is rendered the jury has spoken.”
The texts aren’t the only signal that the jury isn’t done chewing on the case, however. Brown’s attorney James Smith says received an email Saturday night from a former juror who said she had information that could help him with his appeal.
Smith said he couldn’t discuss the case with her, and advised the juror to contact an attorney. But he expressed a desire to contact her. “I do feel certain obligation to at least try to reach out to the juror and speak with her and find out what’s going on,” Smith said.
He also asked Corrigan to try to find out more information from the texting juror
Corrigan refused both oral motions, and said he would not do anything until he received a written motion from Smith.