By: E&P Staff
Denying a motion from the Chicago Tribune, U.S. District Court Judge Amy J. St. Eve refused to release the names of the jurors in the criminal fraud trial of deposed newspaper mogul Conrad Black — and warned reporters to stay away from the jurors during the trial, going into its fourth week.
The Tribune had no right to the juror names during the trial, St. Eve ruled. The ruling was reported Saturday in a Chicago Tribune article by staff reporter Rudolph Bush.
“In a case like this that has garnered intense national and international media attention, releasing juror names during the pendency of trial threatens the integrity of jurors’ ability to absorb the evidence and later render a verdict based only on that evidence,” St. Eve wrote, the Tribune reported.
St. Eve based part of her ruling on an incident last year, in which Chicago Tribune reporting nearly derailed the criminal trial of former Illinois Gov. George Ryan just as the months-long case went to the jury. The Tribune reported that two jurors had concealed past arrests, and, in one case, a conviction. The jurors were dismissed, and deliberations were started anew with two substitute jurors. Ryan ultimately was convicted, but is free while appealing.
St. Eve warned the Tribune and other news organization to “continue to respect jurors’ privacy and the defendants’ related right to be tried by a jury free of outside influences.” The Tribune said that as a matter of practice it does not contact seated jurors.