Judge Wants To Question Cellini Juror About Convictions; Won’t Seek Reporters’ Notes
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CHICAGO (CBS) — A federal judge wants to talk to a juror who failed to disclose her felony convictions before she was seated on the jury that convicted power broker William Cellini, but he won’t force reporters to turn over notes of their interviews with that juror.
Cellini’s defense attorney, Dan Webb, had sought access to the notebooks of Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times reporters who spoke to juror Candy Chiles.
“I want the notes from the reporters because I want to evaluate whether or not there’s credibility issues regarding what this juror said in the questionnaires when she denied that she’d ever been convicted of a felony,” “I want to explore what she said, particularly to the Tribune afterwards, when they confronted her about her lies, in which she issued a statement to the Tribune saying, ‘They should know,’ meaning that she intentionally lied.”
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports
U.S. District Judge James Zagel said the reporters do not have to turn over their notes of interviews with Chiles, although the reporters might have to testify themselves sometime in the future.
Chiles served on the jury that convicted Cellini of trying to shake down a movie producer for campaign cash for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Chiles’ felony convictions did not come to light until after Cellini was convicted.
Webb said he still plans to subpoena Chiles, who has convictions for drunk driving and drug possession, but did not disclose those convictions on her jury questionnaire or under questioning during jury selection.
Cellini’s attorneys are seeking a new trial, arguing that Chiles should not have been seated on the jury because of her felony convictions. They have said her failure to disclose her felony convictions shows she has some type of bias.
Chiles was not in court on Wednesday. Zagel said she told the court she was in the hospital.
Zagel has pushed back a hearing on the defense’s request until Chiles can appear in court.