A federal judge in the criminal trial of Hillary Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann denied a prosecution request Thursday to remove a juror whose daughter plays on the same high school sports team as the defendant’s daughter.
A woman, identified as Juror #5, came forward Thursday morning to tell the court that she only recently discovered that her daughter and Mr. Sussmann’s daughter play on the same high school crew team.
The juror told U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper that she was unaware of the connection when she filled out a jury questionnaire last week. The juror stressed that the daughters are not friends and there is at least a three-year age gap between the two.
She also said it was a large crew team with over 40 students, adding that she has never met Mr. Sussmann or his wife. She emphasized that she could still be fair and impartial and has no other ties to the defendant.
Prosecutors immediately moved to strike the juror, saying they would have asked her to be removed from the jury pool had they known of the connection.
“Our position is that she should not stay on the jury,” Brittain Shaw, a federal prosecutor in the case, said.
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Sean Berkowitz, defense attorney, said the woman should stay, noting that she never met Mr. Sussmann and did not know him.
“There is no reason she can’t sit as a fair and impartial juror,” Mr. Berkowitz said.
Judge Cooper agreed that the juror should remain, saying notifying the court of the connection shows that she can be impartial.
“The connection is not so close that it affects her impartiality,” he said. “She did not know the connection, unfortunately, when she filled out the questionnaire.”
Judge Cooper said bringing the connection to the court‘s attention shows she is “conscientious and takes her obligations as a juror seriously.”
“As a senior, her daughter is probably out of there anyway,” he said.
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Judge Cooper was criticized last week for allowing three Hillary Clinton campaign donors, including one who also donated to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat, to remain in the jury pool.
Others in the jury pool who were allowed to remain included people who worked the phone banks for the Clinton campaign or said they had “strong” views about the outcome of the 2016 election.
One potential juror told the court that she thought law enforcement was racist because the FBI “dismantled the Black Panther movement.”
None of the individuals who donated to the Clinton campaign nor the woman who objected to the FBI made the jury.