The ailing juror in the political corruption trial of Maryland Gov. Marvin Mandel was "feeling fine" yesterday, prompting the judge in the criminal proceeding to announce that the jury - apparently close to its verdict - could resume deliberations today or Monday.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Love Taylor, the third judge to preside over the bizarre courtroom drama, said he plans to consult this morning with doctors treating the juror, Theodore T. Brown, who fell as he was leaving the Federal Courthouse in Baltimore on Friday night.
Spokesmen at mercy Hospital would not talk about Brown's condition, or the cause of his collapse, but the juror's brother, Alan, said he had had a tooth pulled on Thursday and may have suffered an allergic reaction to penicillin.
Judge Taylor said last night that the jury foreman, Howard Davis, indicated to a marshall that the other jurors are prepared to delberate on Sunday if Brown gets a clearance from his phsicians. Taylor said the doctors planned to give Brown a final checkup about 10 a.m. Sunday.
"I'm ready to go ahead, and so is the jury," Taylor said. "We want to get this thing over with."
Brown, a husky 27-year-old employee of the Baltimore Gas & Electric Co., was reported by U.S. Marshal John Spurrier yesterday to be anxious to rejoin his fellow jurors so that deliberations, stopped after nearly 33 hours, could resume.
Brown apparently was not seriously hurt as the result of falling Friday as he and the six other men and five women were walking to the yellow school bus in the basement of the courthouse. The bus transports them between the courthouse and the Ramada Inn in suburban Woodlawn, where they have been sequestered since early June.
The hospitalization of juror Brown was the latest episode in a real-life drama that has had enough twists and turns for a Perry Mason thriller: the first judge assigned to the case. Herbert Murray of Baltimore, was removed by the federal appeals court as the result of a conflict of interest. The first trial was aborted as the result of two tampering attempts and bungled security by federal marshals. The start of the second trial was [WORD ILLEGIBLE] by governor's mysterious a [WORD ILLEGIBLE] and a key witness died between the two trials. His ex-wife came forward for the second trial and testified that her husband had lied.
The first word that yet another crisis had touched the second Mandel trial came when a reporter burst into the cluttered press room at 8:50 p.m. and shouted over a phone to his editor that "an ambulance is here." The announcement cleared the room as effectively as if it had been struck by lightning.
Reporters and camera crews, jerking their tangle of electronic wires and equipment behind them, dashed to the ramp that leads to the underground garage in front of the starkly modern building. As they awaited the departure of the fire department ambulance, and the identity of its occupant, a collective chill swept over the gathering with the thought of a new crisis in what seemed to be becoming a jinxed proceeding.
Attorney William G. Hundley, who represents defendant W. Dale Hess, acknowledged the tension, saying "you should feel my heart beating. Some of the reporters appeared ashen in the cloudy night air as they envisioned a second mistrial and the prospect, now remote, of a third marathon trial.
They recalled that the first Mandel trial began to unravel after the judge, in an unsuccessful attempt to conceal the discovery of an attempted bribe of a juror, falsely announced that the tainted juror was being replaced because of illness.
A city policeman managed to clear the reporters and photographers out of the driveway as the jurors' bus, its side windows covered with cardboard, emerged. It was followed by the red-and-white fire department ambulance with lights flashing, but siren silent.
Television lights illuminated the scene in time to reveal jurors staring out the back window of the bus. Then, with much shouting and revving of engines, the media representatives pursued the ambulance through downtown streets.
Because the ambulance drove through red lights and the press cars did not, the emergency vehicle sped out of sight. But the three newspaper reporters who had jammed into a two-seater sports car to lead the procession, got directions from pedestrians, and arrived at Mercy Hospital just moments after Brown was wheeled into the emergency room number two.
The governor's attorney. Arnold M. Weiner, was relaxing over dinner at the Cafe des Artistes in nearby Hopkins Plaza, thinking that the jurors were going to deliberate as late as 10 p.m.
Weiner had arranged to keep in with his wife at another restaurant, because earlier in the evening, the jurors had requested three additional sets of verdict forms for each of the six defendants - Mandel, Hess brothers William A. and Harry W. Rodgers III, Irvin Kovens and Ernest N. Cory Jr.
But then Weiner's associate, Christopher Ohly, discovered a commotion outside the courthouse, and quickly reported the news to Weiner that a juror was being rushed to a hospital.
Weiner said that after he recovered the "initial shock" of what one observer called the "latest incident of verdict interruptus," he notified the governor and began contemplating the significance and possible consequences of the event.
Weiner said Mandel reacted with "surprise" at what the governor described as "one more strange event" in this extraordinary criminal prosecution.
The first trial was absorted Dec. 7 after several of the jurors, who were belatedly sequestered following revelations of the attempted jury fixes, heard a news bulletin on television about the tampering attempts.
Two men were convicted in the separate tampering events, but the person dubbed by chief prosecutor Barnet D. Sklnik as "the shark" who upset the trial was never caught.
Walter Weigers, a 67-year-old Pikesville furniture salesman, and Charles Edward Neiswender, a 52-year-old New Jersey shipping clerk, are both serving prison terms for obstruction of justice.
Weikers whose stepdaughter is married to a son of Oscar Sislen, the juror in the first case who was excused because of "illness" by U.S. District Court Judge John Heims Pratt, was sentenced March 24 to two years in prison.
Neiswender, a self-described "con man" with "direct Mafia connections," according to the prosecutors, was sentenced March 25 to two and one-half years in prison.
The retrial was scheduled to begin April 13 but on April 5, Mandel, complaining of fatigue, was admitted to Prince George's General Hospital.
Judge Taylor, from Knoxville, Tenn., who was assigned to the second trial by Chief Justice Warren Burger after Judge Pratt indicated he did not want to return, postponed the start until May 13. And then, as Mandel's physicians reported that the governor was too weak to stand trial, the start was postponed to May 31, and finally began June 1.