A setback for the Rumpled Academic. From the Tampa Tribune, with thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist:
TAMPA – A federal judge rejected defense requests for a mistrial Wednesday in the terror-support trial of former University of South Florida Professor Sami Al-Arian and three other men.
Defense attorneys made the requests after disclosures Monday that a juror had made comments about the case in front of other jurors. Two jurors questioned separately by U.S. District Judge James Moody said they heard a man who sits behind them make comments aloud in the jury box. One also indicated the man made comments to two other jurors.
On Wednesday, defense attorneys renewed complaints lodged during jury selection that intense, long-standing publicity surrounding the case made it difficult to seat a fair jury in Tampa. The juror in question wrote on an initial screening form that he read The Tampa Tribune daily.
Defense attorneys blame the Tribune’s coverage of Al-Arian for tainting the jury pool.
“Can this jury, under the circumstances we now know, be fair to Dr. Al-Arian?” asked attorney William Moffitt.