NEW YORK, NY — The Hon. Colleen McMahon’s august courtroom had a stark feel to it Monday morning, March 26, 2012. The judge did not take her place before the cavernous courtroom. She did keep the door to her chambers ajar to be able to respond with alacrity to the wishes of the sequestered jury ensconced in deliberating over the case of the U.S. vs. Annabi and Jereis bribery charges.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Perry Carbone and Jason Halperin were not in attendance. Anthony Siano, legal counsel for defendant Zehy Jereis was, as was Jeanie Gallegos, Esq., as was William Aronwald, legal counsel to Sandy Annabi.
Anticipating a verdict Monday were representative reporters of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, News 12 Westchester, The Journal News, and this reporter, representing The Westchester Guardian and the Yonkers Tribune.
The jury had assembled behind the locked conference room within which they had engaged in deliberation since approximately 9:30 a.m. They could at times be heard beyond the large wooden door that separated the conference-like room situated adjacent to, but at the rear of the courtroom proper. Shouting matches that seemed to give rise from passionate retelling of events and diminution of opposite minded juror's perspectives espoused broke the decibel level often times in the late morning into the mid afternoon, subsiding after 3:00 p.m., or so. While the expressions were loud, they were not discernible. No inference could be deduced.
While passions were expressed behind closed doors, the gargantuan confluence of being found innocent or guilty over the charges alleged against Ms Annabi and Mr Jereis were discernible by the ever more pale complexion of each of the defendants, by their distant gazed moments into a nebulous future in which they were lost in incredulity to what could befall them. A major roadblock toward a future of freedom stood before them. They were at a fork in their respective roads. This was not what anyone would have envisioned. Their thoughts were in how their lives could again earn the freedom, vitality, and purpose they so clearly saw for themselves as individuals and as members of a greater society. Would there be a confluence of riches of purpose in their lives or would they be thwarted the freedom of choice bestowed by an acquittal of the charges alleged against them?
Breaking the introspective reflection of Mr Jereis and Ms Annabi was the piercing sounds of knocking against the wooden door, Federal Court Clerk James O’Neill quickly responded by unlocking the door, announcing that all deliberation must momentarily cease to retrieve written communication by the jury with Judge McMahon.
By 11:00 a.m., the jury had requested they be permitted to eat lunch outdoors. After receiving their request, Mr O’Neill, upon Judge McMahon taking her place at the front of her courtroom, called the jury before her. They were advised their request would be met by permitting them their lunchtime be taken on the 8th floor terrace of the Patrick Moynihan Courthouse where there were benches, stupendous views by which to relax and ponder, and an ability to maintain the jury abide by being sequestered, and their being able to enjoy the sunny demeanor of the day.
After lunch, a repertoire of passionate outbursts could again be heard through the wood door dividing the jurors from the courtroom. It would subside by about 3:00 p.m. At 4:00 p.m., the jury had requested 11 additional printed verdict forms. At 4:45p.m., the jury requested they be relieved of further deliberation at 5:00p.m. Judge McMahon honored their request and upon having them re-enter the courtroom for the last time that day, wished everyone a safe trip home and admonished them to begin deliberation on Tuesday morning, March 27, 2012, at 9:30 a.m., and to NOT discuss the case with anyone.
Media conjecture is that the jurists will arrive at a verdict by Tuesday, March 27th.