BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CN) - Voicing regret about his role in the conviction of Martin Shkreli’s lawyer, a former juror filed an affidavit with the court in which he described deliberations on Evan Greebel as “a complete mess.”
“I felt then and still feel today that Mr. Greebel was not guilty and should not have been charged,” Desmond Sankar said in the sworn Feb. 17 document. “To me, Mr. Shkreli alone is to blame for the wrongdoing.”
A part-time messenger in Queens, Sankar was among 12 jurors and two alternates in the 10-week trial of 44-year-old Greebel.
Shortly after Greebel’s Dec. 27 conviction, however, U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto revealed that the individual known previously as Juror No. 6 called her chambers on Dec. 28 to share his misgivings.
Federal juries are required to reach a unanimous verdict, and Sankar said his questions about the case led other jurors to threaten having him removed.
Though Matsumoto called Sankar to the courthouse in early January and questioned him in the jury room, a transcript of their conversation remains sealed.
Sankar elaborated in his new affidavit meanwhile that he was “confused throughout the process of deliberating and voting on the verdict,” and that the other jurors berated him for trying to see more evidence.
He said that two of the other jurors, No. 2 and No. 10, told the rest of the jury Sankar “could never vote to convict because I was Catholic.”
“This isn’t true,” Sankar’s affidavit continues. “My religious faith did not prevent me from being fair and impartial.”
Sankar also wrote that multiple other jurors had said during the trial they believed Greebel was innocent, breaking the judge’s instructions not to discuss the case before deliberations. He alleged that despite specific instructions that Greebel was not required or expected to testify on his own behalf, several jurors “viewed it in a negative light when Mr. Greebel decided not to testify at trial.”
Convicted of conspiring with Shkreli in a Ponzi-like scheme, Greebel faces up to 20 years in prison for the fraud.
Reed Brodsky and several other members of Greebel’s defense team highlighted many of these issues in a memorandum filed Friday with Judge Matsumoto.
Asking to vacate Greebel’s two guilty counts or retry the case, the 62-page memo says the jury had had inadequate instruction.
Quoting Sankar’s affidavit, the memo says the misconduct was “broader than we initially believed.”
“Taken together, the jurors’ disregard for the court’s instructions and the improper threats against Juror No. 5 run afoul of Mr. Greebel’s Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights to a fair and impartial jury,” Brodsky wrote. “The jury’s verdict should thus be set aside.”
Brodsky did not immediately return a voicemail seeking comment Tuesday.
John Marzulli, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, declined to comment on Sankar’s affidavit.
Separately, a forfeiture and loss hearing in Shkreli’s case will take place Friday morning in Brooklyn.
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