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Nassau judge orders hearing on jury misconduct allegations in Rusty Torres trial

Former Yankee Rosendo

Former Yankee Rosendo "Rusty" Torres leaves a courtroom in Mineola on July 17, 2014. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Nassau County judge will hold a hearing on allegations of jury misconduct in the trial of ex-Yankees player Rosendo "Rusty" Torres, who was found guilty of sexually abusing a girl in 2012 at a Plainview baseball clinic.

On Tuesday, Judge Tammy Robbins rejected a defense argument that the guilty verdict should be set aside because the victim couldn't identify Torres in court, saying trial evidence was "legally sufficient to support his conviction."

But Robbins granted the Oct. 30 hearing based on juror misconduct allegations by Torres' attorney Troy A. Smith, which included sworn statements from two jurors.

Smith claims jurors agreed to a "trade agreement" to change votes and therefore convict Torres on some sex abuse charges in order to end deliberations after being deadlocked.

Some jurors failed to disclose during jury selection either personal or family experiences with having been sexually victimized, but talked about it during deliberations, according to the defense.

In July, the jury found Torres, 66, of Massapequa, guilty of five counts of first-degree sex abuse involving a girl who was younger than 11 at the time.

Authorities have said he faces up to 7 years in prison for each count. The jury acquitted Torres on molestation charges involving a second girl.

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice's office filed papers opposing the defense's entire motion to set aside the verdict, also saying no jurors committed misconduct. The prosecution included sworn statements from five jurors in its court filing, and argued no one "traded" votes and that the verdict was based upon evidence.

The prosecution also said the verdict wasn't reached because of a desire to end deliberations, or anyone's description of their life experiences or comments or opinions about sex abuse.

"Every juror affirmed his or her verdict when polled by the court," the filing said.

Smith, of White Plains, said Wednesday that he wasn't surprised Robbins decided to have a hearing, saying she'd presided over the case fairly.

A Rice spokesman declined to comment.

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