MIAMI — A federal jury was told Friday to forget several days of deliberations in a long-running terrorism case and start from scratch after one of the panelists became ill and had to be replaced.
MIAMI — A federal jury was told Friday to forget several days of deliberations in a long-running terrorism case and start from scratch after one of the panelists became ill and had to be replaced. U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard asked each person to "wipe from your mind" all memories of the deliberations that began Monday. Lenard granted a defense request in the "Liberty City Six" case to replace the ill juror with an alternate, rather than continuing with only 11 on the panel as prosecutors suggested. "You will have to start over again as if you have never discussed this case," Lenard told jurors. "I direct you to wipe your minds clean." Each of the jurors told Lenard they would be able to start fresh. The jurors were also required to turn over any notes taken in the deliberations. The racially mixed jury now consists of 10 women and two men, compared with nine women and three men previously. The juror who became ill was an older Black man who said his doctor recommended he not return to court until next week. The new juror is a Hispanic woman, leaving the panel with two Blacks. Most of the defendants are Black and of Haitian descent. The juror replacement was only the latest difficulty in the case, which has gone through two mistrials when earlier juries were unable to agree on verdicts. This third trial has taken over two months and comes nearly three years after the six men were arrested in June 2006. The six are charged with conspiring with al-Qaida to destroy Chicago’s 110-story Sears Tower and bomb FBI offices around the country. The plan never got beyond the discussion stage, and the group never obtained any weaponry or explosives necessary for such attacks. The group’s leader, 35-year-old Narseal Batiste, testified that he only went along with terrorism discussions because he wanted money from an FBI informant posing as an al-Qaida emissary. Defense attorneys also accused the FBI of orchestrating the entire fictitious case to make career-enhancing terrorism arrests. ______ Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.