updated 6/7/2005 1:27:17 PM ET 2005-06-07T17:27:17

Is Juror Number 5 already blinded by the potential media attention— and money— that could come as a result of deliberating the Michael Jackson case?

Juror No. 5's granddaughter, Traci Montgomery, told The Associated Press that her grandmother talked about writing a book soon after being chosen for the jury back in February. She also talked about being on "Oprah" and "60 Minutes."

Montgomery also told The L.A. Times that her 79-year-old grandmother heard "some juror from the Scott Peterson trial has published a book. She asked me if I thought it was possible to write a book about the Jackson trial.”

While she hasn’t since talked to her grandmother about the case or about writing a book, Montgomery has taken steps towards getting a book deal. There is even a potential co-author waiting in the wings. 

Should all this new information cause the juror to get booted? The “Abrams Report” had a panel of lawyers to weigh in:

Geoffrey Fieger, criminal defense attorney: No, because the deal was allegedly made between her granddaughter and the grandmother. The grandmother herself hasn’t made any deal.  As you know, the law in California requires a 90-day hiatus between the verdict and any book deal. The grandmother just revealing that she was on the jury, or that she might like to appear on television afterwards in and of itself isn’t going to disqualify her. 

I would be worried about whether that would make her more prone to a conviction as in the Scott Peterson case or an acquittal as in the O.J. Simpson case. I would think, just off the top of my head, that a juror who is even thinking about appearing on television isn't going to be one who talks about acquitting an alleged child molester. 

John  Burris, criminal defense attorney: It sounds like to me she wants to line her pockets and become another celebrity. I think that this is a juror that should be brought in by the judge to have a conversation with her in chambers to find out what she in fact has said and what she has done. Has she commissioned her granddaughter to do something indirectly?  And if she has—I think this lady should come off the jury. I don't care whose side she is on. I think she needs to examined and she should come off if that in fact has taken place. 

Marsha Clark, former prosecutor:  Even if, perhaps, she is abiding by the letter of the law (because she is not actively collaborating right now), she is certainly violating the spirit of the law.  But whether that means that she is going for the prosecution or the defense... who knows? You can’t say which way that necessarily goes. 

It does make her a less-than-ideal juror because it shows a self-interest which doesn’t show her being devoted to the duty of seeking justice or finding the truth.

Susan Filan, former prosecutor: Is this woman deliberating in good faith?  She could become a hold out.  In other words, let’s say they took a straw vote and they got a verdict— because she has got a book deal, she needs this to go a week or two. 

Is her position now a true vote for acquittal or guilt, or is it a vote because there is some strategy involved in trying to spring this out, or take notes, or get an angle, or learn more about the jurors?  I think it’s improper.  I think it’s inappropriate. 

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

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,