San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock requested a new trial today after two jurors who found him guilty of conspiracy and perjury said a court bailiff had improperly influenced them during deliberations in a local hotel.
The jury-tampering charge is the latest episode in a bizarre drama surrounding the illegal campaign-financing case.
A moderate Republican with strong environmental group support, Hedgecock was overwhelmingly reelected to head the nation's eighth-largest city last November soon after his indictment. A mistrial was declared in his first trial when a city-employed juror held out for acquittal.
After a second trial in which his attorneys presented no witnesses and argued that the prosecution had no case, the 39-year-old Hedgecock was found guilty Oct. 9 of one count of conspiracy and 12 counts of perjury in connection with alleged illegal financing of his 1983 campaign by wealthy friends.
He is required by law to resign by his scheduled sentencing Nov. 6 and said he would do so Friday. But his attorney, Oscar Goodman, said today that he has urged the mayor to stay and said he would quit the case if the mayor gives up his office.
A spokesman for Hedgecock said the mayor has not changed his mind about resigning but is interested in popular reaction to the latest charges.
In a statement filed with Superior Court, juror Kathleen Saxton-Calderwood said Bailiff Al Burroughs told jurors that they could not become a hung jury, implied that some jurors were "unreasonable" for considering acquittal, made sexual jokes and drank alcohol with jurors after daily deliberations.
An attorney for an unnamed juror said in a separate filing that Burroughs told the juror that Judge William Todd had made up his mind in the case and that the juror should watch out for Saxton-Calderwood "because she is trouble."
Burroughs, the juror alleged, told some jurors his own definition of the legal term "reasonable doubt" and pressed them for a verdict during their 6 1/2 days of deliberation. Goodman said the juror did not realize this was improper until he read news accounts of the verdict.
County Marshal Michael Sgobba, Burroughs' boss, said he would not respond to "raw newspaper allegations" other than to say "they are basically not true."
Goodman filed motions today asking that Burroughs be granted immunity from prosecution for jury tampering so "the truth will come out."
He also asked that District Attorney Edwin L. Miller Jr., a longtime political opponent of Hedgecock, let the state attorney general's office investigate the jury-tampering charge and that a judge other than Todd consider the new-trial motion.
Saxton-Calderwood said Burroughs told a story of a case involving a man with a green hat and a holdout juror "viewed to be unreasonable." She said, "Some jurors referred to this green-hat story repeatedly, and would ask Al to tell it again."
After hearing him say "there were only two verdicts, guilty or not guilty," Saxton-Calderwood asked a female bailiff if this were correct and was told, "There were other choices." The second, unnamed juror said in the filed statement that Burroughs complained to him about Saxton-Calderwood after the female bailiff relayed the conversation.
The unnamed juror said Burroughs asked him "to keep a list of the unreasonable jurors and give him this information."
Under state law, Goodman said, conversation between a bailiff and a deliberating jury is enough to support a mistrial motion, but both jurors also indicated that Burroughs influenced them to vote guilty.
The unidentified juror said he voted guilty because "of the pressure to reach a unanimous decision so there would not be a hung jury and that the jury could go home."