New developments in the trial of the Pootriots who did the armed takeover of the bird refuge here:
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Federal prosecutors' case against the armed occupiers of an Oregon wildlife refuge hit a bump Tuesday when a juror raised questions about the impartiality of another person on the panel.
Well, that was yesterday; today, the judge dismissed juror #11 "for good cause" and sent for an alternate.
Brown released Juror 11, a former employee of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, on the fourth day of jury deliberations in the federal conspiracy trial against Ammon Bundy and six co-defendants because of what she described as an "extraordinary circumstance.''
While they wait for the alternate juror, who was selected at random from a pool of 18, to get to Portland from central Oregon, Judge Brown gave the remaining members of the jury a few instructions and tasks:
"You need to start over with that alternate juror,'' the judge told the remaining jurors.
The judge said they must "set aside the conclusions'' they've drawn, destroy any verdict forms they were given and clean up the jury room so the new panel can start afresh.
It's especially odd because the dismissed juror worked for BLM 20 years ago as a ranger and firefighter, but both prosecution and defense had already established that yet admitted him as a juror in the case, and in federal court they both have to accede for the juror to be seated. On the other hand, the defense haven't demonstrated significant aptitude throughout the trial; it's not exactly a good thing when the judge orders an attorney to sit down and be quiet, for example.
Presumably, the new jury will receive instructions from the judge tomorrow morning, then retire to the jury room to begin deliberations anew.
The Pootriot supporters are characterizing the development as a big win for their heroes.