When the presiding judge in the Citigroup / Terra Firma court battle dismissed a juror earlier this week, the rumour was that it was because she had ties to documentary shock jock, Michael Moore.As it turns out, Judge Jed Rakoff actually thought about booting Juror 6, Donna Romo-Gianell, before the court was shown a clip from Moore’s movie, says Dealbook.
On Tuesday afternoon, Judge Rakoff summoned Romo-Gianell to his chambers because earlier that day, a court reporter had heard Romo-Gianell talking to other jurors about the case, which is forbidden. Apparently the other jurors did not respond to her chatter.
And when the judge asked Romo-Gianell about the incident, her response was… well, weird.
Judge Rakoff: We had a report that when you were [in] the elevator… you said to three of the other jurors something to the effect of “What could possibly go on this afternoon. When they give us so much information, it is hard to know what to focus on.”
Juror No. 6: Number one is I don’t say those kinds of words. That’s not the way I speak. If that happened today, I went by myself. I was one of the first ones out because I just needed to get out and be by myself. So I was not on an elevator with any of the jurors.
Judge Rakoff: O.K. So you think it was –
Juror No. 6: I don’t know who it was. That’s — that’s not — that’s not the way I speak. And that’s not how I think of things. I — I generate a lot of things, and I let it gel. I’m using the wrong kind of words. What kind of words can I say. But the thing is that I know I needed to get out, get some fresh air, and get out there, and I was not even on the elevator with any other juror.
After the bizarre exchange, the judge decided that Romo-Gianell seemed like she was lying, and that her weird and evasive response was due to her not wanting to admit to anything that could have resulted in her dismissal. So he concluded that she wanted too badly to stay on the jury, and bumped her off the jury.
Earlier that morning, Citi had petitioned to have Romo-Gianell removed because her name was in the closing credits of Moore’s anti-banking invective, “Capitalism: A Love Story.”