Friday, December 02, 2005

FAKE NEWS! Bush jury deliberations: the aftermath

Background: President George Bush has received a summons for jury service in Crawford Texas. If the pentagon can plant fake news in Iraqi newspapers, I feel ok with planting a fake news story here!

Headline: Jurors say foreman "out of control".

Jurors in the case of Harvey Gaffen are speaking out today. The case resulted in a mistrial. Mr. Gaffen was accused of driving without wearing a seatbelt and avoided being sentenced to an unknown prison term in Mongolia, in a case that has drawn media attention because of the service of George Bush as jury foreman.

Even though they were sworn to secrecy several jurors have spoken out on the highly unusual proceedings in the case. "I could not believe he took it so personally" said Thomas Johnston. Johnston was originally elected to be jury foreman, but the vote was seven to five, with five votes for Bush. According to Johnston, "He immediately called his lawyer who appealed the vote to the presiding judge. He was not happy and refused to speak to the jurors who voted against him." The judge found that this was solely a matter for the jury to decide but Bush would not accept that decision. "He called the judge a liberal operative and told his lawyer to not let it go" says Johnston.

The appeals resulted in a legal battle that threw the case against Gaffen into legal limbo for three months, leading to a supreme court ruling in Bush v Johnston via a five to four decision which awarded the jury foremanship to Bush. Johnston says "Bush called me the next morning and demanded I prepare a concession speech for the harmony of the proceedings."

When the deliberation commenced, foreman Bush seemed to consider the rest of the jury as secondary to the proceedings according to several members. Juror Sherry Abermarle says she will never forget the first time the matter was presented for a vote. "George just stood up and announced that he thought Mr. Gaffen was guilty, and that we should inform the judge that a verdict was reached" says Ms. Abermarle. "The rest of the room immediately fell into an uproar, but Mr. Bush was already marching to the door to notify the bailiff." All the jurists who spoke to us professed surprise at this determination by Mr. Bush because he appeared disinterested and bored during the trial. "Why he suddenly determined Gaffen was guilty after what we saw in the trial really is a mystery" says Johnston.

When order was restored an actual vote was conducted, which resulted in nine votes for guilty and three for acquittal. "He (Mr. Bush) actually accused whoever voted for acquittal of being 'pro head through the windshield' and threatened to have their vehicles booted if they did not change their votes" says Abermarle.

Juror Maxwell Finnegan recalls "He (Mr. Bush) was enraged over the first vote. He got right into Tom's face and I could see the veins popping out on his neck. He was just screaming."

The next day brought another surprise when, according to several jurors who spoke on condition of anonymity, Bush brought the jury a purported confession from Mr. Gaffen. "The paper was typed and signed by H. Gaffen, but it was damp. So we asked George where he got this. He didn't want to tell us, but he eventually admitted that he had used connections to have Mr. Gaffen kidnapped and waterboarded in the neighboring county" says one juror. "We immediately notified the judge even though George was throwing a hissy fit all the way to the chambers."

The judge immediately declared a mistrial and threw out the charges. "He was furious" remembers Johnston. "He threatened to have Bush declared in contempt for not following the courts instructions to the jury. Bush just kept muttering about the liberal courts and how history will judge this trial and so on. It was incredible!"

When asked if she would like to say anything to Bush following her experience on the jury, Abermarle said "no freaking way! I'm moving to Alaska to get as far away as possible from him. Talk to him?."

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