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Lawyers for former L.A. deputy mayor will seek mistrial based on overheard juror remark

Former Deputy Mayor Raymond Chan walks to the United States Courthouse
Former Deputy Mayor Raymond Chan walks to the federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles earlier this week. His lawyer intends to seek a mistrial. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

A lawyer for former Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Raymond Chan said Friday that he would seek a mistrial after the judge revealed that a juror was overheard saying they wanted a "quick" verdict.

U.S. District Court Judge John F. Walter informed attorneys on both sides of the case about the juror's remark during a hearing on Friday, two days after Chan was convicted in a corruption case focusing on "pay-to-play" schemes involving real estate developers and city officials.

Walter said he was informed earlier in the week that a courtroom deputy had been walking behind some jurors as they were heading to their cars on Tuesday — not long after attorneys delivered closing arguments. The deputy overheard one of the three jurors say to the others that they hoped the jury would arrive at a quick verdict.

The deputy relayed that information to a staffer in Walter's courtroom. The judge said that, after speaking with the deputy, he concluded that the information should be publicly disclosed.

Read more: Former L.A. Deputy Mayor Raymond Chan found guilty in sprawling City Hall corruption case

John Hanusz, who represents Chan, said he would file a motion for a mistrial and seek to have the jurors interviewed by the judge. Hanusz said the jury moved with "speed" to reach a verdict on Wednesday, deciding in less than two hours, even though there were 10 days of testimony and about 1,000 exhibits.

"We will be filing a motion, that's fair to say," Hanusz told the judge. "No question about it."

Walter downplayed the significance of the revelation, saying that juries in two other City Hall corruption trials — both targeting downtown real estate developers — also delivered fast verdicts. He said there was "substantial" evidence in the Chan case, which resulted in his conviction for racketeering, bribery, fraud and giving false statements to investigators.

Asst. U.S. Atty. Cassie Palmer echoed the judge, saying the juror's remarks appeared to be "innocuous."

"It appears they were talking about scheduling," she said.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.