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updated 4/7/2004 10:55:59 AM ET 2004-04-07T14:55:59

The judge in the Tyco case should immediately unseal court records that explain why he granted a mistrial. After six months and more than $12 million in taxpayer dollars, the judge ruled that a letter and phone call to a juror believed to be the holdout for acquittal mandated that he grant a mistrial as the defense had requested. All that Justice Michael Obus would say is that it was a result of “outside influences.”

We don’t know what was said—whether the jury indicated she was afraid, or whether she believed it would impact her ability to deliberate fairly. It may have just been an overreaction by the judge, a bad call, but we won’t know until the records are unsealed. The case is over. Many of the jurors have spoken at length and publicly about their deliberations, but even they weren’t told exactly what happened.

Six months of their lives essentially wasted. Almost 12 days of deliberation with no results, and now the court won’t even let them understand why they had to stop deliberating only minutes before they say they were ready to render verdicts. If there was some extremely personal moment with the juror in the judge’s chambers, then take it out, redact it. We have a right to know what happened to our $12 million.

Now prosecutors who may be a bit shamed by the jurors’ public critiques of their performance are asking to keep the record sealed claiming that there is an ongoing criminal investigation into the potential criminal contact with the juror. And that unsealing the records could “undermine the integrity of the investigation.” But how?

They never explained how the investigation will be affected if the information is disclosed. Furthermore, this investigation is secondary to the massive trial that just concluded—a trial of great public importance about the theft of $600 million. We deserve to know why the legal system failed.

'The Abrams Report' airs weeknights 6 p.m. ET on MSNBC.

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