Corrine Brown juror says she felt pressured to find Brown guilty

Juror No. 3 describes what went on in jury room during deliberations

By Lynnsey Gardner - Investigative reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - One of the 12 jurors who last week found former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown guilty of 18 of 22 federal charges including fraud and tax evasion told News4Jax that she’s losing sleep at night. She said it's because of what juror No. 8 told the judge that got juror No. 13 removed from the panel -- a move that she said likely changed the outcome of the case.

"He said, 'The reason I voted not guilty is because, before I came here, the Holy Spirit told me she was not guilty, and I still don’t think she’s guilty,'" a juror who wishes to remain anonymous said Tuesday. "Everybody started getting mad and saying, 'You have to base it off the evidence, and what’s in front of you,' and he said, 'I did.'"

"He wasn't kicked out because of some radical religious views. He wasn't forcing anything on anybody," she added.

Juror No. 3 spoke out because she wants it known that Juror 13 wasn't the only person on the panel who had reasonable doubt about Brown's guilt. At least initially, she thought the former congresswoman was innocent.

"I do feel like there is a lot of manipulation (of) the people that voted not guilty," she said. "I felt there were a couple of comments, like we didn't understand what was going on. A lot of, 'I have headaches.' A lot of complaining, 'I'm really upset.' Somebody said they were going to jump out the window and commit suicide."

She said it was all because she and Juror 13 were holding out for not guilty and they were nearing a deadlock -- a hung jury.

"I felt really overwhelmed. I wanted the chance to look at the evidence myself," she said. "It was about 4 o'clock (Tuesday) and everybody, at this point knew which direction we were going in."

Juror 3 said they were about to knock on the door Tuesday afternoon -- two days into deliberations -- to tell the judge they were stuck. Instead, a juror suggested they sleep on it for the night, and everything changed the next morning. The judge announcing Juror 13 was out, an alternate was seated without any explanation and they were told to being deliberations over again.

She said there was speculation of what happened to No. 13.

"At that point, I figured they knew something. Why would he be in contempt? He didn't do anything wrong."

She felt intimidated by the fact that the only other person holding out on finding Brown guilty was pulled from the jury. 

"At that point, I felt like there was, kind of like, no free speech," Juror 3 said. "I stopped and I said, 'How come y'all didn't get rid of me, too?' They were all like, 'No, no, no. What do you mean? What are you talking about? I don't think you can just kick somebody off the jury. Maybe No. 13 went to the judge himself.' That didn't make any sense to me."

She said even Juror No. 8, acted shocked that Juror 13 was removed. Only after the trial did she learn that No. 8 set the whole thing in motion.

No. 3 said that manipulation and confusion in the jury room forced her to tears and even fear.

"I knew something happened. I knew something tricky and shifty, what happened, but I did not know what because were not allowed to look. I just felt manipulated. I felt like some people could take the law into their own hands and they can force other people to do what they want. And in this situation, (No. 8) was so frustrated that she could not convict Corrine on her own free will that she made other people vote guilty. That she (could) change the dynamics of the jury and, like I said, there was only two ways I could've went. If she would not have done that, Corrine would be walking. But after she did that, well, we have the verdict."

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We asked her if she thought Brown got a fair trial.

"I think that the judges and the lawyers, they pick the jury and they pick it the way they want it, and it's a one-time thing unless something happens to somebody and they have to put in an alternate. In this instance, one juror picked the jury. She chose the jury that she wanted and she went above and beyond to make sure that happened," she said. "No, I don't think that's fair. At one point, Corrine was going to walk and at another point, she is convicted of 18 counts. And that is all because of one person's doing, and no, I don't think that's fair."

Asked after the nearly three-week process if she believes Brown is guilty, she said she's not sure.

"I don't know. I don't know."

Brown's attorney, James Smith, said minutes after the verdict that he planned to ask for a new trial. If the trial judge, Timothy Corrigan, denies that motion, the verdict could be appealed. 

Gene Nichols, an attorney not associated with the case who provided legal analysis for News4Jax during the trial, said its very rare that a judge who heard the case would grant a new trial.

"We know there's going to be an appeal if a motion for a new trial is not granted. For that reason, you can expect Judge Corrigan will have to consider an appellate bond ... which will allow her to stay out pending the appeal."

Smith would then asked the U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta to take up the case,  The appellate judges could order a new trial or let the verdict stand.

Nichols does not believe this is case that would ever go before the U.S. Supreme Court .

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