Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Q&A Raw Video: Wecht Jurors Speak Out

The Pittsburgh Channel now has the raw video of the news conference by five jurors from the Wecht trial. Click here to watch.

Here are some quotes from my notes.

Juror Kimberly:

• "I felt strongly that the prosecution did not present a strong enough case that there was a plan or a scheme or intent to defraud."

• "I felt completely devalued, that the time and energy and everything I had put in the trial just flew out the window before we were even dismissed from the room." (On the quick decision by prosecutors to put Wecht on trial a second time.)

• "Now I feel that there definitely could be some political motivations behind what's happening with Doctor Wecht."

Juror Dawn:
• "We all sorted through tons and tons of the evidence, and we just not find any intent to defraud."

• "We truly did try, we went though count by count by count, just went through that barrage of paper, and it just was not there."

• "I feel it's politically motivated. There was a day in testimony where (defense attorney) Mr. McDevitt did not get a word in edgewise, objections just kept coming. And it really made me sit back and think, 'what is it that they're not allowing to come out to us?'"

• "The defense was not able to get a lot of information out to us, a lot of it was stopped, and I just feel that he somewhat sided with the government." (Referring to Judge Schwab.)

• "Just in the end, it was not enough to prove guilt."

Juror Linda:
• "I don't know if politically motivated or not, but it seemed to me that the motivations were certainly less than pure. There was something behind it other than seeking justice." (On the motive of the prosecution.)

• " I felt uncomfortable that the call was made by the FBI, as opposed to somebody directly from the prosecution. I just felt that -- by it's nature -- was intimidating." (On the prosecution's use of FBI agents to contact jurors at home to set up post-trial questioning.)

• "I believe that services were provided in good faith and the county was served in good faith." (On Wecht's work as coroner.)

• "I would do anything that it took if I could have an effect on there not being a future trial. I just feel that it would be punitive -- that there's not a chance that another jury would find differently than we did."

Juror Bruce:
• "With all the witnesses that came forth that had immunity, you would have have thought there'd be somebody that would have dropped a bomb or had the smoking gun."

• "There was no intent for him to defraud the citizens of Allegheny County or his private clients."

Jury Foreman Bob:
• "I'm thinking to myself, geez, you had three years to find somebody and this is the best you could do? I mean, they weren't even upset." (Referring to testimony by the alleged victims among Wecht's private clients.)

• "I definitely feel it's a waste of taxpayer's money. I don't understand how they can find a juror that would convict him, to have twelve people to be unanimous."

• "Definitely politics, now that it's all said and done. Not so much that I thought that during the trial, but especially after you think about how quickly (Assistant U.S. Attorney) Mr. Stallings got up and said we're retrying him, how quickly they had a date set."

• "I was shocked. I was surprised that he would make that decision already without even knowing what the counts (of guilty and not guilty votes by jurors) were."

• "I kind of felt it was a slap in the face. that it was almost like you know, we don't even care what time you put into it or what you thought. It wasn't what we want to hear, so we're doing it again."

• "Drop it and walk away." (His advice to prosecutors.)


1 comment:

Bob Mayo said...

Catching up here...sorry for the delay.

Bram Reichbaum of The Pittsburgh Comet offered two comments on this post about the Wecht trial jury.

Bram wrote, in part:

• "Given the circumstances, Our US Attorney would be well advised to pivot adroitly forward to bigger and even better things."


• "Obviously, it would be instructive to hear from five jurors on the other side of the fence. "