- The Washington Times - Monday, November 3, 2008

A juror who disappeared from deliberations in the trial of Sen. Ted Stevens that ended last week admitted in court Monday that she lied about her father dying to get out of further jury duty.

Instead, she decided to attend a horse race in Arcadia, Calif.

“I worked in the horse industry,” Marian Hinnant, 52, a resident of Northeast Washington, said in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan delayed deliberations after Ms. Hinnant said on Oct. 23 she needed to fly to California because her father died. The judge replaced her four days later with an alternate juror when he was unable to reach her by telephone to determine when she would return.

The jury convicted Alaska’s longest-serving Republican senator on seven felony counts of making false statements on Senate financial disclosure forms.

Afterward, Judge Sullivan ordered Ms. Hinnant to appear in court Monday to explain her absence.

She gave a rambling explanation that included a discussion of the Breeders’ Cup horse race, President Ford’s son Steven, suspicions that her condominium was bugged and her background in the horse breeding industry in Kentucky.

She currently works for a car rental agency.

Judge Sullivan stopped her to say, “I am thoroughly convinced that you would not have been able to continue to deliberate in this case.”

Her attorney, federal public defender A.J. Kramer, told the judge her “state of mind” prevented her from continuing to deliberate.

“The story about her father was one that she said popped into her mind,” Mr. Kramer said.

Judge Sullivan dismissed Ms. Hinnant without penalty.

As she left the courthouse, Ms. Hinnant said, “I didn’t feel any pressure to leave” the jury deliberations.

She said Stevens’ actions in failing to disclose $250,000 in home remodeling and other gifts from a corporate donor were no different than misdeeds of many politicians.

“He was guilty but these other ones are just as guilty,” she said.

She said the deliberations stalled when one woman, who was identified by the court as Juror No. 9, became uncooperative.

“There was one lady in the room that was always mad,” Ms. Hinnant said.

The jury reached guilty verdicts on all charges after Judge Sullivan counseled them to cooperate and the alternate replaced Ms. Hinnant.

Ms. Hinnant said she did not want to miss the Breeders’ Cup horse race because she had already bought tickets before the trial started.

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