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Stevens Juror Lied About Father’s Death

Updated: 12:40 p.m.

The juror who was dismissed from the criminal trial of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) to attend the funeral of her father in California admitted Monday that her father had not died, and that she went to California to attend a horse race.

Judge Emmet Sullivan suspended deliberations in Stevens’ criminal trial on Oct. 23 upon being notified that the juror’s father had died, and replaced her with an alternate juror on Oct. 27 when the court was unable to contact her.

But the juror — Marian Hinnant, a 52-year-old customer service worker at Avis car rental — appeared in court Monday and admitted that she had made up the story of her father’s death.

Appearing disheveled and confused and brandishing a thick stack of dog-eared papers, Hinnant told the judge that in the spring she had purchased tickets to the Breeders’ Cup event in Santa Anita on Oct. 24 and 25.

Hinnant then began to tell a convoluted story about criminal activity in the horse racing industry, alleging that her phone had been tapped and that someone she once worked with in the industry was involved in crime and drugs.

The judge attempted to dismiss her, but Hinnant continued to tell her tale, ultimately asking the judge, “Can I have a case of my own?”

Sullivan suggested that she take that up with the federal public defender, whom he had appointed to represent her at today’s hearing.

Sullivan told her that he was simply concerned for her well-being, and that seeing that she was fine, he was satisfied that she would not have been able to complete deliberations with the rest of the jury. He did not suggest any sanction for her actions.

After Hinnant left the courtroom, Sullivan told the attorneys in Stevens’ case that he had dismissed her because she was unable to continue to serve on the jury, and “what you heard today just reinforces the correctness of the court’s decision.”

Robert Cary, one of Stevens’ lawyers, said “we don’t necessarily agree with the court’s findings,” and the judge invited both sides to file briefs on the issue.

Outside the courthouse, Hinnant told the pack of reporters that followed her to the Metro that she believed Stevens was guilty, but that she also believed most other Members of Congress were guilty of crimes as well. “He didn’t do anything any of the other Congressman and Senators hadn’t done,” she said.

Sullivan had spoken with Hinnant Oct. 23 after she had said she could not continue, and the next morning he appeared to be overcome with emotion as he described that conversation in the courtroom.

He said that during his conversations with Hinnant — at that point known only as Juror 4 — “I extended our heartfelt sympathies to the juror and her family. … That was paramount. That was more important than anything else in the conversation.”

“I told her that having lost my own father a couple of years ago, I knew what she was going through.”

After describing their conversations, Sullivan said, “I left it at that and told her godspeed.” At that point the judge appeared to become overwhelmed and stopped speaking. The courtroom fell silent and remained quiet for more than a minute.

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