Simpson jury braces for tough week of deliberations
February 2, 1997
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Deliberations continue Monday in the O.J. Simpson civil trial for a jury coping with the addition of a new member as well as charges of possible jury tampering.
The new juror -- an Asian-American male -- replaced Rosemary Caraway, 62, last week. She was dismissed for failing to disclose that her daughter works for the prosecutor in the Simpson criminal trial.
Jurors in disarray
Regarding the new juror, jury consultant Mark Gerard said, "Some of the jurors probably built their alliances with others and now I think maybe they're in disarray."
"The other 11 jurors are looking at him like 'you just follow us,' so I'm sure it's an uncomfortable position for that 12th juror," said criminal defense attorney Milton Grimes.
Even though the jury had deliberated three days, Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki told the panel to start again -- from scratch.
"This jury will not start over," said attorney Leo Terrell. "They will probably inform this new juror what has been going on. They should select a new foreperson if they start from scratch. It won't happen."
Legally, the jury members can structure their deliberations any way they choose, once inside the locked jury room.
"I suspect because of the nature of this case that this jury is taking their job really seriously and has started from scratch," said jury consultant JoEllen Dimitrius.
Possible jury tampering
The claims of jury tampering center on allegations that two jurors from the Simpson criminal trial faxed a letter to members of the civil trial jury.
In an interview with CNN, former criminal trial juror Gina Rosborough said Sunday the letter was sent by her agent, but that she didn't know how it was sent to the civil jury during deliberations.
"I did nothing wrong," she said.
The letter was written, because "we wanted to help them out emotionally after the trial," she said. "Emotional support was our main focus. We want them to know we've been there."
Rosborough denied the letter was intended to sway the civil trial jury, or as a reference for her agent.
Rosborough is working on a book about the civil trial with Brenda Moran, another criminal trial juror.
Other cases as precedent
Jury disruption has occurred before in other high-profile cases.
During the second trial of Eric and Lyle Menendez, two jury members were replaced for medical reasons.
At the time, the panel had been deliberating four days, said former Menendez juror Leslie Hillings. One member was close to a verdict. But the panel started over and took care not to influence the new jurors, she said.
"We discussed things as a group, but we would never say 'we decided this or we decided that' to influence them in any way," Hillings said.
The Reginald Denny beatings trial was interrupted twice during deliberations and a jury member replaced each time.
In the trial of "Night Stalker" Richard Ramirez, one jury member was replaced -- after she was found murdered in her home.
The replacement of a juror in the Simpson case may not be unusual. But Simpson's two trials have generated so many unexpected twists that, as one expert said: it seems if something can go wrong it will.Correspondent Jim Hill contributed to this report.
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