November 3rd, 2008
04:11 PM ET
10 years ago

Juror who vanished from Stevens trial went to California horse race

A juror in the Stevens trial spoke out Monday about her disappearance from the trial.

A juror in the Stevens trial spoke out Monday about her disappearance from the trial.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A woman who had been a juror in the criminal trial of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens told a judge Monday she made up a story about her father dying, so she could go to California for a horse race.

The judge last week initially accepted her story about a family emergency, but was later unable to reach her to learn when she would return.

He then was forced to recall an alternate juror so the panel could resume deliberations on October 27 and possibly render a verdict. Six hours later, the verdict against Stevens was unanimously guilty on all seven counts of making false statements on Senate financial documents.

The fate of the missing juror was in doubt through the middle of last week, when U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan issued an order calling her to a hearing Monday morning.

At the hearing, she was publicly identified as Marian Hinnant, known during the trial as Juror No. 4. Hinnant's attorney, public defender A.J. Kramer, told CNN the story about her father's death was a lie.

Kramer said he told the judge that "she was okay, that her father had not died, and that she was in a state of mind where she had to go out of town on that Friday and couldn't deliberate."

Kramer said Sullivan asked his client to elaborate and that Hinnant said she had to go to horse racing's Breeders' Cup. She then began to go "off-topic," as Kramer described it, and the judge cut her off when it became clear the woman was distracted.

"Well, you wouldn't have been able to deliberate," Sullivan concluded at the hearing, according to a court official who attended and later described his remarks to CNN.

The judge then asked whether there were any questions from Stevens' lawyers or the prosecutors. Neither side wanted to pursue the matter at the hearing, but the judge invited both sides to file any papers expressing concerns related to the case.

The judge again said to Hinnant, "I'm thoroughly convinced you would not have been able to deliberate," indicating his decision to appoint an alternate juror had been wise.

"I feel bad about missing the last day or two of the trial," Hinnant said following Monday's hearing. "I do not feel bad about going to California."

Hinnant said she would have voted guilty.

"At that time we were going through the case, and we were deciding whether or not he was guilty on each count," she said. "And we all came up with, well most of us came up with, the same verdict. But to me he wasn't any more guilty than any other congressmen or senators in Washington, D.C., or in
the states."

Hinnant said she bought her ticket to the Breeder's Cup last spring and "didn't think the trial was going to last as long as it did."

"I couldn't think of a, well, on Thursday afternoon, they'd not finished deliberating, so I thought by then we would be through, and I came home and I thought, 'Well, I'm going,'" she said. "My plane leaves at 6 o'clock in the morning, so I called him (the judge) up and told him my father died, in

Sullivan closed the matter without any punishment against the woman for her absence.

Stevens has asked for a hearing in February where the judge would review any motions to appeal or otherwise challenge the verdict. He has remained free since the convictions, and is in a tight re-election campaign in Alaska ahead of Tuesday's vote.

Filed under: Ted Stevens
soundoff (54 Responses)


    November 3, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |

    Did he take Obama along ?

    November 3, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. Samuel

    She's as crazy as Palin

    November 3, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  4. Denise Groves

    OMG! She should be charged for some kind of crime. She abandoned jury duty for a horserace!

    November 3, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. Mimi

    Well hey, she learned from the best.

    November 3, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    The juror probably has a book deal and went to meet her "bookie".

    November 3, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. Veteran in Kansas

    Talk about contempt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She should be spending equal time that she skipped out on in the lockup.

    November 3, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  8. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    He's gonna lose the election. Convicted felons should not be allowed to vote or hold office.


    November 3, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  9. Cynthia; Bham

    My deepest and most heartfelt sympathy to the Obama family in the loss of his grandmonther.

    November 3, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  10. Diana

    The incredible self-centered nature of some never ceases to amaze me! That a horse race was more important that her duties as part of a sworn jury and that she lied to the court to get there is worthy of some time in the pokey with Stevens.

    November 3, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  11. Alexander

    Uh she is a registered democrat. Go look it up. Go Obama! It's off to the horse races!!!

    November 3, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  12. Linda from Minnesota

    In Minnesota, they would have sent a sheriff to pick you up and you would have had jail time after the trial. Sounds like everyone in Alaska thinks the rules and laws don't apply to them.

    November 3, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    This is terrible. But I still think the correct verdict was handed down.

    November 3, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. Jos/TN

    she should have a cell across campus from the dishonorable, arrogant Senator Stevens

    November 3, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  15. Matt

    So much for a fair and impartial jury in this country.

    November 3, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. Charlie Bradley

    Unethics must be a character trait in Alaska?

    First Caribou Barbie abuses her power
    Then Ted Stevens
    then the Juror in the Ted Stevens case

    I can't wait til tomorrow


    November 3, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  17. FreeNLovIt

    Good for the juror!!

    November 3, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  18. Liberated!

    Oh sheis in trouble!

    So sorry that Obama's grandma died before hearing the good news that her grandson won the presidency. The rainbow will be a LANDSLIDE victory for Obama tomorrow! GOD bless you grandmama for raising a great man like Obama. May your soul rest in peace!

    November 3, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  19. Jim L.

    Sad to say, but this will probably lead to a new trial for Stevens (it should). The guy is a crook, but fair is fair. Worse yet, he'll probably win re-election.

    November 3, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  20. Jake145

    What in thee hell is going on in Alaska?
    She goes to the races? what in the hell.

    November 3, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  21. Dawn

    Maybe she was paid by Palin.....


    My condolence to Barack Obama on the death of your Grandmother..

    November 3, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  22. D-MI

    This woman is a twit. She is precisely why Bush was elected twice and why some people are still undecided.


    November 3, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  23. Ken in NC

    Good thing that woman was not sitting on a Jury in North Carolina. She would be sitting in a cell now. I guess since Stevens is only going to get a slap on the wrist because he is a Senator, the judge could not give her time while the Senator walks scott free.

    November 3, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  24. Old white lady in Birmingham, AL

    What a bunch of crazies. I don't think it would have changed the verdict since it was unanimous.

    November 3, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  25. Fed up

    "It's ok if I screw around with the justice system- I have a HORSE RACE to go to!!!"

    Unbelievable. I can't believe there isn't some type of summons they can give her for this.

    November 3, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
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