NEW YORK (Reuters) — After a two-day
delay, the jurors considering whether to convict five former Bernard
Madoff aides of helping him perpetuate his Ponzi scheme will resume
deliberations on Friday with one fewer member.
U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain in New York ruled on
Thursday that the trial would move forward with only 11 jurors,
after a juror fell sick on Tuesday and has not yet recovered.
"I believe that is the efficient way to go," she said.
The five aides — back-office director Daniel Bonventre, portfolio
managers Annette Bongiorno and Joann Crupi and computer programmers
Jerome O'Hara and George Perez — have all denied the charges,
saying they were fooled by Madoff into believing the business he ran
The case, which is already one of the longest white-collar criminal
trials in New York history, was put on hold on Tuesday afternoon
when juror No. 6, a teacher from Westchester, became ill.
Deliberations began on Monday afternoon.
Swain said at a court hearing on Thursday that the juror was unable
to come to court on Friday and that it was unclear whether she would
recover by Monday.
Government lawyers urged Swain to bring the jury back on Friday,
either with 11 members or by substituting one of the alternate
jurors, who have been on standby in case they are needed.
Adding an alternate juror, however, would require the jury to begin
deliberating from scratch.
Defense lawyers had asked Swain to consider delaying a decision
until Monday in the hopes that the juror would feel better, arguing
that she deserved the chance to continue deliberating after sitting
through five months of testimony.
Swain's decision means the sick juror will not be able to rejoin
The trial, which began in October, included more than 40 witnesses
and thousands of documents entered into evidence.
The case is USA v. O'Hara et al, U.S. District Court, Southern
District of New York, No. 10-cr-0228.