Lawyers for two Hanafi Muslims, convicted of various charges in connection with the siege of three Washington buildings last March, yesterday [WORD ILLEGIBLE] a new trial for their clients [WORD ILLEGIBLE] on information that a female [WORD ILLEGIBLE] in the case "exhibited bizarre and [WORD ILLEGIBLE] behavior" during jury [WORD ILLEGIBLE].
". . . this juror was barricaded in a [WORD ILLEGIBLE] for an undetermined amount of time," the lawyers said in a [WORD ILLEGIBLE] filed with the D.C. Superior Court. Deliberations in the Hanafi [WORD ILLEGIBLE] may have continued in the juror's absence, the petition said.
After the trial was completed, the juror continued to act in an irrational manner the lawyers said. They said they had information that the woman later may have set fire to her apartment, wandered confused and disoriented" in areas of the city and was finally taken to St. Elizabeths Hospital for observation.
The attorneys, John W. Sansing and Dennis O'Keefe, claimed in their petition that the juror's unusual behavior during the deliberations was "know to the Court and disclosed to the prosecution." Both lawyers said, however, that they were not informed of the woman's conduct.
Specifically, Sansing and O'Keefe asked Judge Nicholas S. Nunzio, who presided at the Hanafi trial last summer, to hold a closed hearing to investigate the allegations about the juror's behavior during deliberations. They also requested full disclosure of any information about possible irregular conduct on the part of any of the other jurors who heard the case.
The lawyers also asked the court to hear evidence as to the femal juror's mental stability - both before and after the trial - "insofar as (it) might reflect upon . . . ability to function as a rational juror."
The attorneys argued that the woman's alleged behavior during deliberations might indicate that she was "suffering from some mental instability" at the time or that she was "suffering from undue pressures exerted by other jurors."
If deliberations had reached the point where the juror may have been coerced into agreeing with a guilty verdict, then "the requirement of a unanimous verdict may have been breached," Sansing and O'Keefe said in their petition.
During jury selection, the lawyers said, the juror in question gave no indication that she was under psychiatric care or medication for any mental illness, the petition said.
However, if the woman did suffer from such an illness, and did not disclose it to defense counsel, then a violation of the juror's oath to reveal any reason why she might not be able to serve on the jury would have occurred, the attorneys said.
Whether such a violation occurred would depend on the gravity of the juror's condition prior to the start of the trial, the lawyers said. If the juror was suffering from a mental impairment, her ability to consider the evidence and deliberate "in a rational manner" may have been hindered, the lawyers said.
Sansing and O'Keefe argued that the court has "an obligation it conduct a full hearing into the merits of the allegations." Based on information that "might be forthcoming at such a hearing," the two lawyers asked the court to "grant a new trial in the interest of justice."
It would be up to Judge Nunzio to grant a new trial. He could not be reached for comment yesterday. U.S. Attorney Earl J. Silbert said late yesterday that his office, which prosecuted the Hanafis, would have no comment on the defense lawyers' petition.
The lawyers represent Abdul Nuh, 28, and Abdul Rahim, 26, who along with 10 other Hanafi Muslims were convicted of armed kidnapping and related charges in connection with the March 3 takeover, during which 149 persons were taken hostage and one man was killed.