A federal judge has excused two jurors from former Illinois Gov. George Ryan’s corruption trial after the Chicago Tribune reported that both had apparently concealed arrest records during jury selection six months ago. After five hours of closed-door discussions with lawyers, U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer said she hopes to replace the two jurors with alternates and restart the deliberations from scratch, said the Tribune. Pallmeyer hopes to avoid a mistrial, referring to the “very significant investment, both public and private,” that has gone into the marathon trial of Ryan and lobbyist Lawrence Warner.
Ryan’s attorneys object to substituting alternate jurors, arguing it would be “asking the impossible” for jurors after eight days of deliberations to start deliberations anew. The laweyrs said that “the remaining members of the panel could easily misinterpret the reasons for those jurors’ removal to the great prejudice of the defendants.” Pallmeyer instructed the two excused jurors–Evelyn Ezell and Robert Pavlick–not to talk to reporters until after a verdict is reached. The Tribune hadn’t identified either juror; it is the newspaper’s practice not to name a sitting member of a jury during a trial.