DENVER (CN) – Three of 24 jurors in James Holmes’ mass murder trial were dismissed Tuesday for misconduct that began with one juror discussing a tweet from the prosecutor.
The violations, brought to Judge Carlos Samour’s attention by Juror 673, involved exposure to information outside the confines of the trial.
The information was given to and reiterated by Juror 872, the first to be dismissed, who had taken a phone call during a court-mandated lunch the previous week.
Juror 872 put the call on speakerphone, and her husband proceeded to discuss a tweet from the case’s lead prosecutor, District Attorney George Brauchler, involving video footage of Holmes’s medical evaluation by Dr. William Reid.
“She had said that one of the attorneys had posted onto Twitter: ‘Did you see that part? I hope the jury saw that part of the video,'” Juror 673 relayed, adding that Juror 872 “may or may not be reading the news on this case.”
“I just really don’t pay attention to my husband most of the time,” Juror 872 told Judge Samour when he questioned her conduct. “So it wasn’t really important, at that time.”
Jurors 495 and 412 were dismissed for failing to report the misconduct of Juror 872.
Judge Samour said he was “concerned to some extent that jurors 495 and 412 didn’t say anything about it. It appears that they heard something and didn’t say anything.”
Brauchler was reprimanded last week for tweeting about the trial. His Twitter account showed a tweet posted at 4:51 p.m. Thursday, when Holmes’ public defender Dan King was cross-examining Dr. Reid, the prosecution’s mental health expert.
The tweet stated: “I agree on the video. I hope the jury thinks so too.”
Another public defender, Tamara Brady, brought the tweet to Samour’s attention.
“If the prosecution is seeking the execution of a man,” Brady said, “perhaps the district attorney should pay attention to the cross-examination of a mental health expert instead of chatting on social media.”
Brauchler said he deleted the tweet 20 minutes after posting it. Calling it an “embarrassing mistake,” he said he had originally believed he had sent a text, not a tweet.
“Nothing can’t wait until a break or after court to be tweeted,” Samour said. “If you’re bored and don’t want to pay attention, then you’re welcome to leave. I don’t need five attorneys on each side.”
The dismissed jurors will be replaced with three of the 12 alternates already assigned to the trial.
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