Judge again instructs bogged-down Brooks jury

David Brooks leaves federal court in Central Islip.

David Brooks leaves federal court in Central Islip. (Feb. 24, 2009) (Credit: James Carbone)

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The judge in the David Brooks fraud case instructed the jurors for the fourth time in a week Thursday to conduct their deliberations with respect for each other and within the instructions she had outlined.

And in the latest unusual turn of events, it turned out the jurors had not been deliberating at all during the day because only 11 of them were present. One was not present because of unspecified car and family trouble.

A court official told defense attorneys for the former Westbury DHB Industries body-armor magnate and his co-defendant Sandra Hatfield, prosecutors and spectators of the juror's absence in the late afternoon.

Nevertheless, one juror sent a note to U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert saying that two other jurors had been refusing to deliberate.

It is against jury rules for a member of a jury to send out a note by him or herself. All notes must go to the judge through the jury forewoman.

As a result, before dismissing the jurors for the day, Seybert told them that though "no doubt many of you are frustrated," they should consider deliberating in a respectful manner.

Seybert also admonished the jurors that they should not tell her about ongoing jury deliberations, but only pass notes through the forewoman concerning requests for evidence or legal matters.

On Wednesday the forewoman sent out a note to the judge, asking, "Is there a timeline for us to continue deliberations?" Seybert told them there was none and to continue deliberations.

In previous days, Seybert gave the jury what the forewomen called a "pep talk," concerning the conduct of deliberations.

In a related development, a federal magistrate held a sealed hearing on the security conditions that David Brooks is being held under at the Nassau County jail over the objection of Newsday. The magistrate, Kathleen Tomlinson, proceeded with the closed hearing, which is scheduled to continue Monday.

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