Lawyers argue over new trial for Fumo

    Last week Fumo asked the judge for a new trial based on a claim that the jury was tainted.

    Federal prosecutors say the conviction of former Pennsylvania state Senator Vincent Fumo should stand and no new trial is warranted. Last week Fumo asked the judge for a new trial based on a claim that the jury was tainted. The jury found Fumo guilty of 137 counts of fraud and obstruction of justice last March.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090706sptrial.mp3]

    In court papers filed last week, Fumo’s defense lawyer Dennis Cogan says at least one juror had been prejudiced by information gained from a co-worker. The juror had apparently learned of Fumo’s prior corruption convictions. The judge had ruled to keep that information from the jury.

    In a response filed by the prosecution, the government says the law prevents interrogation of jurors after a verdict.

    Edward Ohlbaum is a professor at Temple University’s Beasley school of Law.

    Ohlbaum: From a prosecution standpoint, this is a nightmare. You really don’t want to have the deliberative process of the jury invaded. And the law is really clear, you can’t interrogate the jurors with respect to what factors motivated them to come down in a particular way.

    Fumo is scheduled to be sentenced next week.

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