Unsealed Bridgegate document shows juror sought dismissal

A Bridgegate juror tried to get off the case, which prompted defense attorneys to ask for a mistrial.

A Bridgegate juror tried to get off the case, which prompted defense attorneys to ask for a mistrial. (4/14/17)

NEWARK - Newly unsealed documents in the Bridgegate lane-closure case show defense attorneys sought a mistrial ruling after a juror called the case "overwhelming" and asked to be dismissed.

Attorneys for Bill Baroni and Bridget Kelly asked U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton to declare a mistrial when a juror sought to be removed from the panel. In documents unsealed this week, a defense attorney said the juror sought the dismissal without the defendants being present, as required.

It was reported that the juror "was crying and said [he or she] was very upset and did not feel [he or she] could proceed." That juror also apparently said he or she could remain fair and impartial in the room, but it was all the other aspects that were overwhelming.

The documents say that the juror could not sleep at night and had “been struggling with this whole thing and doesn't believe [he or she] can continue."

The defense had argued the juror improperly contacted the court's deputy and also may have influenced others in the jury by speaking of the emotional strain.  That motion for a mistrial was denied by the judge and the juror remained on the panel.

The 12-person jury handed down guilty verdicts in November on fraud and conspiracy charges stemming from the politically motivated scheme. They were sentenced last month to prison.

Baroni was Gov. Chris Christie's appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Kelly was his deputy chief of staff.

Christie has denied any involvement in the scheme and was not charged.

Baroni and Kelly have appealed the verdicts.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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