updated 4/7/2004 8:26:41 AM ET 2004-04-07T12:26:41

Ruth Jordan, the former juror at the center of a media furor during the Tyco mistrial, said she never signaled her support for the defense and was likely going to vote to acquit the firm's two former executives.

"At best it was going to be a hung jury," Jordan said in an interview published Wednesday in The New York Times. "I don't think I would have voted guilty on any count."

Jordan also denied she ever flashed an "OK" hand signal to reassure defense lawyers during the trial, as had been reported by several news outlets.

"I would never do that," she said. "It's completely contrary to what I was supposed to be doing there as a juror. It's so unbelievably stupid."

She said she suffered from a medical condition similar to shingles that made her skin sensitive and that she sometimes scraped her hair back from her face — a movement that could be mistaken for a signal.

The interview, a collaboration with CBS News, was to air Wednesday night on "60 Minutes II."

Jordan received an intimidating letter and a telephone call after her name and accounts of the alleged hand signal appeared in several newspapers. News organizations usually do not report the names of sitting jurors.

Jordan reported the contacts to state Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus, who declared a mistrial Friday in the cases of L. Dennis Kozlowski, 57, Tyco's former chief executive officer, and Mark H. Swartz, 43, the former chief financial officer.

The former executives, accused of looting Tyco of $600 million, had been charged with grand larceny, falsifying business records, conspiracy and securities fraud. Each would have faced up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Jordan said she considered all evidence presented in the trial fairly. But the prosecution's case, including descriptions of lavish personal expenditures made by Kozlowski and Swartz, failed to convince her of the defendants' guilt, she said.

"Even people who have bad habits deserve justice," she said. "Intent — intent was the center of the whole case, at least for me. I don't think they thought they were committing a crime."

Several fellow jurors have said that the jury was close to reaching a consensus to convict Kozlowski and Swartz on several counts when the mistrial was called.

Jordan acknowledged that "on a couple of occasions I raised my hand" to vote guilty on certain charges during straw polls. But, she said, "I was abandoning my own standards and beliefs. I was trying to be somebody else."

Asked about the letter she received after her name was printed, Jordan said it had been "disturbing," but "wasn't threatening." The letter said "Dennis and Mark are huge criminals, and how could I have failed to see that or something like that," she recalled.

The author, who has been traced to Massachusetts, "thought there was already a mistrial and was complaining to her about it," a police official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The writer has not been charged with any crime, and authorities in Manhattan say the investigation is continuing.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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