Could there be this many unanxious, unflappable people attached to the drug and perjury trial of D.C. Mayor Marion Barry? To hear the principals or their spokesmen tell it, life is almost too busy to even think about fretting or pacing or even having a little bit of indigestion as the jury wends its way into its seventh day of deliberations today. To wit:
U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson is writing "a long overdue motion" in a civil suit involving a man who hurt his back when his deck chair collapsed on an Italian cruise ship. His two law clerks, almost always present during the six weeks of testimony, are similarly engaged in other legal matters.
Prosecutors Judith E. Retchin and Richard W. Roberts are "working on other cases," while U.S. Attorney Jay B. Stephens is "maintaining a regular schedule" of meetings, interviews and other routine tasks. The only apparent break in Retchin's and Roberts's routine these last few days, according to a source, is having lunch "outside the building" and going home at a "reasonable hour." Retchin and Roberts would not comment when asked Tuesday where they had dined.
Barry attorney R. Kenneth Mundy says he is "very, very busy" preparing for another drug case scheduled to start on Monday. Then, he says, he is leaving Aug. 17 for vacation "regardless of whether there is a verdict" in the Barry case.
Barry had "desk work" on yesterday's schedule, according to a spokeswoman, as well as putting in an appearance at an assembly of his Youth Leadership Institute at Catholic University. Although Barry said earlier this week that the waiting "is worse than the trial," he also said he had "developed sort of an even keel here. If I'm found guilty, my mood would be about the same as it would be if I'm found not guilty."
At least two of the main players -- Barry attorney Robert W. Mance and FBI agent Peter Wubbenhorst -- are on vacation.
Could this be, well, normal?
"We played cards mostly," said William Pease, one of three prosecutors who tried Barry's former wife Mary Treadwell in 1983 and who waited 131 hours over 17 days until the jury returned a verdict in that case. "You were always waiting for a phone call. We got virtually no work done."
The Treadwell jury held the record for the longest deliberations in a case in U.S. District Court here until it was surpassed in 1986 in the trial of nine members of the Black Hebrew Sect. The jury in that case deliberated eight weeks after hearing 13 weeks of testimony.
Deliberations were marked by several unusual incidents, including the delay for a day to allow one juror to sober up and another delay after a different juror decided to take the day off and go to a pool hall. How did the principals in that case feel?
"I tried to be busy. I started looking into another huge case that eventually went to trial two years later," said former prosecutor J. Michael Hannon. "I looked at a lot of things, police reports, testimony, but none of it stuck. My mind was elsewhere. I read a lot of page-turner novels."
The only people willing, it seemed yesterday, to admit to a little uneasiness, a little frustration were deputy U.S. marshals assigned to patrol the halls outside the courtroom and the ever present reporters -- but only on the condition that they not be named.
"You're bored and I'm bored," said one deputy.