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Tyco jurorsspeak out

A juror who held out to acquit the defendants in the now-defunct Tyco trial said she had been misrepresented in the media.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A juror who held out to acquit the defendants in the now-defunct Tyco trial said she had been misrepresented in the media.

“I wasn’t unfair, but I did have a firm resting on the presumption of innocence,” Ruth Jordan, 79, told Newsday in a story published Monday. “I’m not sure they ever got that concept. I don’t intend to get into a big thing with these people, but this is the way I feel.”

The nearly six-month trial of former Tyco CEO L. Dennis Kozlowski and former chief financial officer Mark H. Swartz was declared a mistrial Friday because of pressure on Jordan, who reportedly received an intimidating letter and phone call urging her to convict after her name was published in the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal.

She has been widely depicted in the media as unyielding in her approach to the deliberations. Other jurors had sent a note to the judge during deliberations saying the atmosphere in the jury room had turned “poisonous” and one juror was refusing to deliberate with an open mind.

The negative publicity, which included angry postings on the Internet, was “overwhelming,” Jordan told Newsday.

In a Time magazine article published this week, fellow juror Peter McEntegart said Jordan “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.”

According to McEntegart, Jordan felt that Tyco’s board of directors unfairly targeted Kozlowski and Swartz, serving them up to prosecutors who were eager to make an example of corporate greed.

But he said that late in the deliberations, after some testimony was read back, Jordan agreed that Swartz had not been honest on the witness stand. He said it looked to McEntegart that reaching a verdict on some counts was possible, though Jordan continued to waver. The mistrial declaration came the following day.

Jordan told Newsday she planned to tell her account of the trial and deliberations to “a major [media] outlet.”

“I’m not going to do any trashing, but I will speak with dignity in due course,” she said.

Kozlowski and Swartz were accused of looting the company of $600 million. Prosecutors have said they will retry the two “at the earliest opportunity.”

The Newsday story didn’t mention the allegations that Jordan had made an OK sign to the defense during a court session. McEntegart said he and other jurors were unaware of any such thing. Other jurors interviewed Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” also said they never saw such a gesture.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)