Former Juror Sides With Expelled Congressman - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Former Juror Sides With Expelled Congressman

By M.R. KROPKO, Associated Press Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) - One juror in James Traficant's trial is now on record believing the expelled congressman should have been acquitted of corruption charges last spring.

Another is not sure but thinks not all possible testimony was offered at the trial.

Scott Grodi was excused before deliberations in April due to a death in his family after hearing most of the testimony in Traficant's case. Traficant's 10-count federal indictment included charges of bribery, conspiracy and racketeering. Traficant (pictured, above) was convicted of all counts.

In an affidavit Wednesday, Grodi said: "When I was dismissed as a juror, I did not believe the testimony of the key government witnesses and I did not believe that the government proved that James Traficant committed any offense. I do not believe today that James Traficant was guilty of the charges brought against him."

Grodi's lawyer, John P. Kilroy, said Wednesday night that Grodi became concerned about the hearing in Congress to expel Traficant and decided to end his silence. The House voted to expel.

"He wanted to state his position before Traficant's fate was sealed with the congressional decision," Kilroy said.

He said Grodi is a carpenter, lives in Lorain County (about 40 miles west of Cleveland) and is "a young man in his 20s."

Meanwhile, a juror involved in the verdict said Wednesday night he has no doubt about his vote to convict Traficant, based on the evidence that was before the jury.

"My concern is that maybe I didn't hear all the evidence," said Leo Glaser, 54, of the Cleveland suburb, Independence.

In particular, he said he remains concerned about not having been allowed to consider testimony of Richard Detore, a Virginia business executive accused of bribing Traficant.

"We hashed it all out and (regarding) the verdict that came out, speaking for myself, there was no other verdict. Now, after hearing Richard Detore's testimony before the Ethics Committee, it seems to me if you plug his testimony into the trial, it was my reasonable doubt. Perhaps on most charges I might have voted to exonerate."

But Glaser, a utility company worker, said he realizes his most recent impression might be incorrect. He said that had the Traficant trial lead prosecutor, Craig Morford, cross-examined Detore in the congressional committee hearing, then "maybe that would have changed my mind again."

Glaser said the affidavit presented from Grodi on Wednesday caught him by surprise and "was a bombshell. I for one would have liked to know what Scott might have said if he were there" in the trial's jury deliberations.

Jeri Zimmerman, 44, another Traficant trial juror, said: "No one that I know of that's a juror has changed his mind."

Nothing she had seen or heard since has changed her mind about Traficant's guilt.

As for Detore, Zimmerman said: "He didn't show up at (Traficant's) trial. And his answers -- it's just like Traficant likes to do. He never answers a direct question."

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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