Judge lectures DHB trial jurors, again

U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert (Undated) U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert (Undated) Photo Credit: Handout

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For the second time in a week, a federal judge Tuesday gave the apparently bickering jurors in the David Brooks fraud trial a talk on how to deliberate while respecting each other's opinions.

U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert spoke to jurors in the case of the former body-armor magnate and his co-defendant, Sandra Hatfield, after a juror sent the judge a note saying, "I would like to be excused from the jury because there are people on the jury who at times do not add any input.  . . . I feel that they are prolonging the case because they don't want to go back to work."

The case of Brooks and Hatfield, who was chief operating officer of former Westbury-based DHB Industries, is in its seventh month at the U.S. District Court in Central Islip.

Last week the jury forewoman had literally asked for a "pep talk" from Seybert in order "to keep everyone focused and open-minded on how to go about deliberations."

Seybert's similar pep talk to the jurors Tuesday came after the reluctant juror also wrote complaining some jurors "sit there and read testimony that doesn't relate to the charges we are discussing."

The note from that juror was solicited by Seybert directly, after the jury forewoman mentioned to Seybert's courtroom deputy that one of the jurors wished to be dismissed.

Instead of dismissing the reluctant juror, Seybert essentially repeated the remarks she made last week to all the jurors, asking them to respect the opinions of other jurors, but not to change opinions "simply because you are outnumbered."

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In another development, the Nassau County jail in East Meadow, where Brooks was moved from Queens last week, released a statement defending the conditions under which Brooks is being confined.

"The County has just recently been served with a writ filed on behalf of David Brooks," the jail's general counsel, Elizabeth Loconsolo, said in the statement. "We believe that the specific security procedures and administrative restrictions imposed upon Mr. Brooks are both reasonable and appropriate under the totality of the circumstances presented in this case, and have been properly imposed for the overall safety, security and good order of the facility."

Brooks considers it inhumane to be held in solitary confinement, forbidden to mix with other inmates, allowed only to speak with his lawyers through a glass partition, and permitted to move about only when shackled, Newsday reported Monday.

Federal marshals had requested that Brooks be transferred from a Queens detention center to the jail after he allegedly possessed tranquilizers, tried to smuggle a ballpoint pen hidden in a body cavity, and attempted to conceal writing that might indicate tampering with the jury.

Federal prosecutors and the FBI are investigating the possible tampering.

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