First Coast News was asked to answer questions at a Thursday hearing called by Judge Timothy Corrigan after the station notified the judge that one of our reporters had mistakenly left contact information at the home of a current juror in the Corrine Brown case. First Coast News reporter Ken Amaro was attempting to contact a dismissed juror when the mistake was made.
Following that hearing Judge Corrigan issued an order prohibiting the media from reaching out to any dismissed juror. Sternly adding that the jury “has to be able to deliberate according to the law and free from outside forces”.
First Coast News never had contact with the juror, but did leave business cards at his residence. Once that mistake was recognized, FCN contacted the judge’s clerk to let her know. The judge’s assistant notified First Coast News shortly after 8 pm on Wednesday that a special hearing would be held to allow attorneys from both sides to make further inquiry.
Both the federal prosecutor and Brown’s defense attorneys felt no action needed to be taken because no contact had been made. Judge Corrigan said “I would think that if the juror felt pressured or aggrieved in some way that he would likely have brought it to our attention. And since that did not happen I am just speculating that he viewed it as an intrusion and probably bowed to the court order but kept himself in compliance.”
At the end of the hearing, Judge Corrigan issued an order to prohibit the media from reaching out to dismissed jurors. The jury then resumed deliberations.
In a statement, First Coast News President and General Manager, Rob Mennie said:
“Wednesday morning a juror was dismissed from the case involving Corrine Brown. First Coast News went to a home where we believed the dismissed juror lived. We knocked on the door and no one answered. We then left business cards at the door. We had no contact with anyone at the home.
Later in the day, we realized the address was actually the residence of a juror who was still seated. At that point, we immediately called the judge to make him aware of what happened.
At no time did anyone at First Coast News have any contact with the juror and to the best of our knowledge, the juror never attempted to contact First Coast News.
All of us at First Coast News deeply regret this error. We sincerely apologize to Judge Corrigan and to both parties.”
© 2017 WTLV-TV