Flip-flopping Astor Trial Juror Could Give Anthony Marshall Another Chance

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Photo: nytimes.com

A woman who voted, with the rest of her jury, to convict Astor heir Anthony Marshall on fourteen counts of fraud, larceny, and conspiracy, has now told investigators that she regrets her decision, and only cast her vote out of fear. This proclamation, by juror Judith DeMarco, flies in the face of a behind-the-scenes account in Vanity Fair, and her own statements shortly after the trial, when she told Bloomberg News that she "did ultimately what I felt was the right thing.” “As much as I wanted to find the man innocent, this was a criminal case and there were mounds and mounds of evidence,” she said back then.

Now DeMarco says she was lying back then. "The judge wasn’t going to protect me," she told defense attorneys later. "At the end I'm ashamed I couldn't stand my ground. But I couldn't take it any longer. I couldn’t take it. I don’t want to see anyone innocent go away, but I had to do what I had to do." DeMarco claims that she felt threatened by a fellow juror, Yvonne Fernandez, who became angry with her for what Fernandez perceived to be a refusal to listen to other jurors. The flare-up is clear in records and descriptions from deliberations (DeMarco was apparently in tears multiple times), and indeed, a note regarding DeMarco's feelings was sent to the judge, Kirke Bartley Jr. After the note, Bartley urged the jury to "hang in there" and be "as respectful of one another as one can possibly be."

Vanity Fair described the next day of deliberations thusly:

Oddly, it was as if a storm had blown through and passed. Judi was quiet at first, but then joined in the conversation, and suddenly many of the others felt as if she was listening. To try to ease her mind, they asked the judge for more instructions on how to interpret the responsibilities inherent in the power of attorney. It took another 24 hours, but on Wednesday, Yvonne apologized for her outburst, telling Judi that she had actually helped them all, saying, “You made us all dig in deeper and look harder. I’m so sorry that I hurt you.” Greta suggested that the two women hug, and they wrapped their arms around each other.


Now, though, e-mail between jurors indicates that this sense that everything had been smoothed over was false, concocted after the fact for the benefit of the media. One juror said she "followed the script of 'the frustrations ran high' bit, and that the next day it was if nothing ever happened," according to one missive. With regards to a television interview, another juror sent an e-mail saying: "The idea here is that we get asked and then can use the 'Frustrations rose on occasion, but we always moved past it,' perhaps including the 'everyone kissed and made up after.'"

Lawyers for Marshall, who was sentenced to one to three years of prison, hope to use this material to gain a new trial. The 85-year-old Marshall is still free from jail pending any appeal.

An Astor Juror Says Her Fear Dictated Vote [NYT]