Prosecutors in the Tyco trial “made a major miscalculation” in focusing on former CEO L. Dennis Kozlowski’s lavish lifestyle, one of the jurors has written in this week’s Time magazine. Another described a free-for-all atmosphere in the jury room from the very start.
“It was not a winning situation. It was insane,” juror Mark Glatzer told Reuters.
Juror Peter McEntegart, a reporter for Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated, said that while the prosecutors provided “vivid accounts and video of the now famous $2 million bash ... and of his over-the-top purchases of items like $6,000 shower curtains,” the jury spent little time on the excesses of Kozlowski and former chief financial officer Mark H. Swartz.
“Much of what these two men did might have been unseemly, even unethical — but illegal beyond a reasonable doubt? Not to us,” McEntegart wrote. “Instead, several jury members expressed disgust that the prosecution has wasted our time on all this.”
Kozlowski and Swartz were accused of looting the company of $600 million.
The nearly six-month trial was aborted Friday, with the jury reportedly just minutes from a decision, because of pressure on juror Ruth Jordan, who apparently received an intimidating letter and phone call urging her to convict.
Jordan had earlier been accused of not deliberating in good faith. She then made a mysterious hand gesture to defense lawyers, which the New York Post depicted on its front page as an “OK” signal. The Post joined the Wall Street Journal in printing her name and called her a “batty blueblood” in a second story.
Glatzer said the rest of the panel put aside bickering and harsh feelings toward Jordan, known otherwise as juror No. 4, after she was publicly criticized.
“She’s 79 years old and she’s on the front page of the Post, which is making fun of her,” Glatzer said. “Juror No. 7 called me and other jurors and told us to call Ruth and give her support. I was horribly worried for her.”
McEntegart said Jordan, who at one point baked a carrot cake for the others on the panel, “seemed to be at war with herself. Whenever she reached the precipice of a guilty vote on any count, she recoiled as if she had touched a hot stove.”
Jordan frustrated the group by constantly shifting her arguments or voting guilty on a count only to change her mind later, Glatzer concurred. “She was just dancing around,” he said. “Tempers flared and people said things they wished they didn’t say."
According to McEntegart, Jordan told fellow jurors she felt that Kozlowski’s and Swartz’s ethnicities played into the case, and said that Tyco’s board of directors served them up to prosecutors who were eager to make an example of corporate greed. The defendants’ ethnicities were never mentioned in testimony.
But McEntegart said Jordan eventually told her fellow jurors she had had a change of heart, and by Thursday afternoon the panel “had reached a strong consensus for guilty verdicts on the final two counts, conspiracy and securities fraud.”
“She said she realized that maybe her opinion of reasonable doubt was too strong and she was willing to change it,” Glatzer recalled . “And she said she was going to vote guilty on (a grand larceny count).”
Jordan’s shifting stance unsettled Glatzer. He said he feared she was voting guilty because she had been terrorized by the media coverage.
McEntegart verified that the jury was close to a verdict when the mistrial was declared. Prosecutors have said they would retry the two “at the earliest opportunity.”
“We had come together, however uneasily, only to have the marathon canceled just as we were staggering the final yards,” McEntegart wrote.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.