MANHATTAN (CN) – Four jurors asked to call it quits Tuesday, as a federal judge presiding over the corruption trial of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s former top aide braced for a winter storm and turbulent deliberations.
“It is with great respect that I ask to be dismissed from this case,” one woman wrote on Tuesday. “We are almost eight weeks in. My children need their mother back.”
Another mother of two requested permanent maternal leave.
“I believe I cannot do this anymore!” she exclaimed in her note.
“Both my kids are sick and I am not able to find an afternoon appointment for them,” she added. “I really need to be excused. At this point, I feel there is nothing else I can offer to this process.”
The case of Cuomo’s ex-deputy Joseph Percoco and three executives standing trial with him ran overtime, with prosecutors and four sets of defense attorneys surpassing initial projections of a six-week trial.
Prosecutors accuse Percoco of accepting more than $300,000 in bribes funneled through “low-show” jobs to his wife.
Three days of passionate closing arguments last week set the tone for heated debate among the 12-person panel, with jurors declaring irreconcilable differences fewer than 20 hours into deliberations.
“We cannot come to a unanimous consent,” a 56-year-old juror wrote. “We are largely divided in opposing views. The only thing we seem to agree on is that we disagree.”
Unmoved, U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni noted that the jury barely started, and two of the deliberation days convened only for a few hours.
“All told, I think they got about a day and a half,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Janis Echenberg said.
Agreeing, Caproni added: “Basically, about two days.”
With a nor’easter expected to batter the region on Wednesday, Caproni ruled that she would give the jurors a snow day. She said the court’s disaster coordinator predicted six to 12 inches would blanket the New York City area.
Even more is expected to fall in Westchester County, where eight jurors and alternates reside.
Excusing the jurors until Thursday, Caproni told them to get back to work.
“Disagreements are natural, but each of you has taken a solemn oath to decide this case in good faith,” she said.
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