“I will not be granting a mistrial at this point,” state Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus told lawyers after sending the jury home. “We’ll see what happens on Monday.”
Earlier in the day, jurors reported their deliberations were “irreparably compromised” by infighting. The judge asked them to reconsider over lunch, and the jurors later answered with a note asking that they be allowed to return Monday.
“In this, your wish is my command,” the judge said. He added: “Put this away for a while. Relax. Do whatever you can do safely over the weekend, and be back at 9:30 Monday morning.”
Before lunch, the judge had said he was not optimistic that the trial of ex-Tyco CEO L. Dennis Kozlowski and former chief financial officer Mark Swartz would continue past Friday.
In notes sent to the judge Thursday, the jurors had called the jury-room atmosphere “poisonous,” and said that “incendiary accusations” had been made among jurors. They said at least one juror felt persecuted.
Before sending the jury home, Obus said lawyers had brought to his attention reports of a gesture made by one juror as she passed in front of lawyers on her way to the jury box earlier in the day. The gesture had been interpreted by some reporters as an “OK” sign. The judge acknowledged hearing about the gesture, and said he would continue telling jurors they should consider nothing but the evidence in the case.