Friday, August 28, 2015

Jury Controversy Brewing In Chris Wright Corruption Trial?

Tom Bergstrom, attorney for Ravinder Chawla in a City Hall corruption trial, just told U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno that one of the jurors may be a problem. Bergstrom suggested the juror might not be fair.

Jury Controversy Brewing In Chris Wright Corruption Trial?

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Tom Bergstrom, attorney for Ravinder Chawla in a City Hall corruption trial, just told U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno that one of the jurors may be a problem.  Bergstrom suggested the juror might not be fair.

“If it’s true that this juror has made up her mind, that she’s not being fair or impartial, then we need to find that out," Bergstrom said.

Robreno then started testimony for the day, with Chawla on the stand in his own defense.  Chawla and his brother, Hardeep, and their attorney, Andy Teitelman, are accused of bribing Chris Wright, City Councilman Jack Kelly's chief of staff.

The juror in question is now listening to testimony.  An alternate juror was dismissed last week, apparently because the trial was becoming an economic hardship for her.

UPDATE, 12 pm:  Defense attorneys filed a motion today -- you can read it here -- asking the judge to question the juror.  The juror appeared to be nodding off during some testimony last week.  Defense attorneys also say she has been glaring at them and their clients and laughing at times into the hood of her sweatshirt during some testimony.

Judge Robreno has not acted on the motion so far.  The juror in question seems much more alert today, almost sitting on the edge of her seat. She's wearing another sweatshirt but PhillyClout has not seen her laughing into her hood.

UPDATE, 2 p.m.:  Bergstrom just told PhillyClout that the judge, who met for about 30 minutes in chambers with attorneys for the defense and prosecution, denied his motion to question the juror about her actions during the trial.

Judge Robreno just recounted some of his instructions to the jury -- asking them to keep an open mind, avoid discussing the case and to stay away from any media accounts of the trial.

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About this blog
William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
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