Simpson judge denies mistrial over juror's actionsFebruary 3, 1997
Web posted at: 8:13 p.m. EST (0113 GMT)
SANTA MONICA, California (CNN) -- The newly reconstituted jury in the O.J. Simpson civil trial finished its first day of deliberations Monday after the judge denied a defense motion for a mistrial.
The motion was brought by Robert Baker, Simpson's attorney, who claimed that a juror deliberately lied when she failed to write on a juror questionnaire that her daughter works for the Los Angeles District Attorney's office.
Baker made that claim after telling the judge that he had re- examined the original questionnaire filled out by the juror. The questionnaire, he said, showed that the juror had written district attorney's office in response to one question, but that the words had been all crossed out.
Baker said the questionnaire proved a "direct, deliberate attempt to mislead," adding, "we are certainly entitled to a mistrial."
"She's obviously well connected to the DA's office," Baker said, adding that the juror's daughter had worked for both Chris Darden and William Hodgeman in the DA's office. Both prosecutors worked on the Simpson criminal case.
Plaintiff's attorney Daniel Petrocelli pointed out it was the district attorney's office that brought the matter to the attention of the court and denied that anything "sinister" was at play. He also pointed out that several responses on the juror's questionnaire made her appear to be a "pro-defense" juror, including her answer that police discrimination against African Americans is a "somewhat serious" problem.
In denying Baker's motion, Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki said, "the court is satisfied that the court's instruction to the jury is being heeded, to begin deliberations anew."
When Baker pressed that he wanted all remaining jurors questioned as to what the excused juror said during deliberations, Fujisaki told him he could conduct his investigation after the verdict.
Later in the day, a spokeswoman for the district Attorney's office said the dismissed juror's daughter "never worked for Hodgeman, ever, ever."
As for Darden, she said the woman may have been in the same unit with him prior to early 1989. She would not disclose the working relationship, saying the woman has asked the district attorney's office not to release information about her.
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