Another Juror in the Sheldon Silver Trial Wants Out (Updated 11:54 a.m.)

Sheldon Silver leaves the courthouse in Lower Manhattan during his first trial.

Sheldon Silver leaves the courthouse in Lower Manhattan last week.
Sheldon Silver leaves the courthouse in Lower Manhattan earlier this month.

The long holiday weekend apparently did not help calm the jury in Sheldon Silver’s federal corruption trial. Just minutes after deliberations resumed this morning, a juror sent a note to the judge that read:

“I, [name redacted], Juror #11, no longer wish to participate as a juror on this case. I believe there is a conflict of interest that I just learned about. Thank you.”

Last week, a juror asked the judge to be excused from the panel, saying she felt “pressured… stressed out” and that her opinion of the case differed from that of the other jurors. Judge Valerie Caproni told the jurors that it was too early for anyone to be excused from deliberations, and she instructed the panel to keep trying to reach a verdict.

It’s unclear whether the new note has come from the same person or from a second juror.

Silver, the longtime Lower East Side assemblyman, faces seven counts related to two alleged kickback schemes. Deliberations began last Tuesday.

More to come…

UPDATE 10:57 a.m. It’s not the same juror. The Associated Press reports the note came from a male member of the jury. The judge and lawyers are meeting with the juror privately right now.

UPDATE 11:51 a.m. The juror, a 69-year-old man from the Bronx, said he’s a taxi driver who leases a medallion from someone who might know Sheldon Silver. The judge assured him he would be protected against retaliation. Both prosecutors and defense lawyers agreed the man should remain on the jury. According to reporter John Riley, the juror told the judge, “I’d really prefer not to hear any more but if you order that that’s what I’ve got to do.”

Here’s more from Newsday:

After meeting with the man, a cab driver from the Bronx, Manhattan U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni concluded that he was fearful of retaliation if Silver is convicted. She told juror…, with the assent of both sides, that he would be protected against retaliation, and told him to resume deliberations. “I’ll do my best or whatever,” (he) said, according to a pool report of the meeting with the judge. “I’d really prefer not to hear any more, but if you order that, that’s what I’ve got to do.” The juror earlier told the judge that the possible connection came up when he visited his garage over the weekend. He said the man he rents his taxi from owns in the vicinity of 250 medallions, and may attend the same synagogue as Silver.

A few more details of this morning’s meeting from the Post:

“While we were working over the weekend, it came up the medallion that I lease is from a guy that associates with Mr, Silver, so it wouldn’t be fair for me to be on this case,” the juror told the judge. Other drivers in his garage were the ones who apparently brought it to his attention over the weekend. “I was told [Silver and the medallion owner] hang out in the same synagogue in the past and stuff. This guy is a very rich man, so they probably hang out in the same places,” the juror said. “How many medallions does the owner have?” the judge asked. “Maybe 250 medallions,” the juror replied. “Do you know the owner?” Caproni said. “I’ve seen him, but I don’t speak to him,” the hack said. “Would he know your name?” the judge asked. “My name is in the office,” Juror No. 11 responded. At one point when the juror was out of the room, Caproni said, ” I am reading this as he is concerned that if there is a conviction, his leased medallion is at risk?”

The judge told the juror, “I’m going to direct you to put out of your mind whatever you think you know about the connection between the medallion cab that you drive and Mr. Silver, and continue to deliberate.”

The jury has now gone back to work.