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Peer Review

A look at previous juror exposés suggests a Tyco trial tell-all might not be memorable.

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Jurors on the Tyco case have proved quite adept at generating headlines. But can they write their own stories? One, a nurse named Parker Bosworth, wanted to call his book Tyco—The Trial: A Nurse’s Diagnosis, but then said he’d reconsidered doing a book at all. And maverick juror Ruth Jordan didn’t return calls about her authorial intentions.

Juror No. 11, Sports Illustrated reporter Pete McEntegart, however—who already wrote about the trial for Time—is determined to publish his account. “People said, ‘Oh, you should write a book,’ and I wasn’t interested,” he says. “First of all, the trial was boring. But during deliberations, it got kookier and kookier.” And so he started taking notes. “Every now and then I’ll check the word count,” he says, “and it’s already like 30,000 words. I mean, how long is a book? Like, 100,000 words?” He’s shopping for an agent. If he gets a deal, his book would join a long list of other jurors’ exposés, most of which have been forgotten.

Subway Gunman: A Juror’s Account of the Bernhard Goetz Trial, by Mark Lesly with Charles Shuttleworth. Lesly, a martial-arts instructor, explained the reasons for acquittal in what one critic called “mind-numbing detail.” Amazon has one used copy for $1.38.

Hung Jury: The Diary of a Menendez Juror, by Hazel Thornton. Thornton, a sympathetic juror from the first (mis)trial, came out with her book—geared toward law students—in time for the second one. “It had average sales for an academic title,” says the head of Temple University Press.

Private Diary of an O.J. Juror, by Michael Knox. The quickie confession of a juror dismissed for lying about his criminal record (he’d been arrested for kidnapping his girlfriend) was published while the trial was still going. The publisher was subpoenaed; the book sold more than 350,000 copies.

Madam Foreman: A Rush to Judgment?, by Amanda Cooley, Carrie Bess, and Marsha Rubin-Jackson. Cooley, the foreman of the Simpson trial, and two fellow jurors defend their verdict. “Probably the only account of the case that didn’t make the New York Times best-seller list,” noted the Ottawa Citizen.

Untitled, by Kathy MacDonald and Shannon Murrin. After voting in 2000 to acquit Shannon Murrin of killing an 8-year-old girl in Canada, MacDonald began to write—then asked Murrin to collaborate. They now live together and plan to publish with tiny ESP Press. Publisher Winston Ruby says it’s taken longer than expected—"They just don’t know how much effort is involved. They’re not a good match of a couple, to be honest with you.”


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