Juror Pressured to Convict Pakistani
- Claims She Was Pressured to Convict
By DON THOMPSON
Friday April 28, 2006
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A juror said in a sworn statement that she
was pressured into casting the final vote to convict a man of
attending a Pakistani terrorist training camp.
The juror's affidavit means Hamid Hayat, of Lodi, should get a new
trial, attorney Wazhma Mojaddidi argued in a motion filed in federal
court late Thursday.
``I was under so much stress and pressure (from the other jurors) that
I agreed to change my vote,'' Arcelia Lopez of Sacramento said in her
statement. ``I never once throughout the deliberation process and the
reading of the verdict believed Hamid Hayat to be guilty.''
Meanwhile, prosecutors are expected to tell U.S. District Judge
Garland E. Burrell Jr. on Friday if they will retry Hayat's father,
48-year-old Umer Hayat, after jurors deadlocked on whether he was
guilty of lying to FBI agents about his son's alleged terrorist training.
Prosecutors in Hamid Hayat's case have said repeatedly since Tuesday's
verdict that they don't believe there was any improper influence on
jurors, and that any pressure on Lopez was part of the normal jury
Though emotional, Lopez confirmed her guilty vote in open court
Tuesday when all 12 jurors were questioned by presiding U.S. District
Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr.
``I deeply regret my decision,'' Lopez said in the affidavit obtained
by defense investigator and former FBI agent James Wedick.
Lopez said in her affidavit that by last Friday she was the lone
holdout in the case. She went to a medical clinic Saturday with a
migraine headache and believed ``my health and physical well-being
were being affected by the pressure from the other jurors to change my
On Monday she learned the jury's foreman, Joseph Cote of Folsom, had
sent Burrell a note saying Lopez was causing an impasse in
deliberations. That note was made public Wednesday. Cote did not
return a telephone message seeking comment left at his home.
Prosecutors say Hayat, 23, should face a minimum 30 years in prison at
his July 14 sentencing based on his convictions on charges he provided
material support by attending the terror camp in 2003 and lying about
it to FBI agents when he was questioned after he returned to the
United States in May.
Hayat told agents in an hours-long videotaped statement that he was
awaiting orders to carry out a religious war against targets such as
banks, groceries and hospitals. Mojaddidi disputes the confession and
says there is no direct proof Hayat attended the camp.
Both Hamid and Umer Hayat were detained along with two Muslim
religious leaders in what authorities suggested was part of a
terrorist movement in Lodi, located in a grape-growing region 35 miles
south of the state capital. The two imams and one man's son were
deported for immigration violations, however, and the Hayats were the
only people criminally charged in the probe.
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