Two jurors said yesterday that the sole count on which Mayor Marion Barry was convicted came as a result of testimony from the witness they found to be most credible.
The jury of 10 blacks and two whites found the mayor of the nation's capital guilty of possession of cocaine based on testimony from Barry friend Doris Crenshaw, who said she used cocaine with the mayor at the Mayflower Hotel sometime in the fall of 1989.
Crenshaw, a Montgomery, Ala., businesswoman, told the jury about using cocaine with Barry but was unable to give the precise date.
"Doris Crenshaw had no reason to lie," said Joseph Deoudes, a 23-year-old registered Republican. "She had nothing to lose or gain by coming into court. She was subpoenaed and had to come to court."
The jury found Barry not guilty of possession of crack cocaine in Count 3, one of the few counts that rested on a specific date. A juror, who asked not to be identified, said the jury believed the defense's contention that Barry was somewhere else the morning the government said he received crack from drug dealer Lydia Reid Pearson.
Johnnie Mae Hardeman, a 61-year-old Northeast resident, said the jury got along well but there were tense moments in its deliberations. She described how the jury had reached a verdict early in the week on Count 12, in which it found Barry guilty of possession. It was this verdict that the jury wanted to announce the day it piled into the courtroom, only to refuse to announce its verdict. Hardeman said that the jury had made the decision in the jury room, but after it sent a note to the judge telling him it had a verdict, one juror changed her mind. "It was kind of embarrassing," she said.
The jurors' comments followed the conclusion of eight days of deliberation in which the jurors returned one guilty verdict on a cocaine possession charge, acquittal on a similar charge and and said they were deadlocked on 12 remaining charges.
The jury was split evenly on the controversial Vista sting and on at least one of the more serious charges of perjury, reflecting that the decision did not follow racial lines. The trial has left some residents with an unsettling sense that the city is becoming increasingly racially polarized.
"The only thing that this verdict or lack of a verdict speaks to is there is not a meeting of the minds on the evidence," said Deoudes. "It doesn't say anything about the racial situation in the city. The only thing the verdict addresses is that people didn't see evidence in the same way."
Some of the jurors spent their first day out of sequestration reflecting on what their deliberations meant and what the verdict said to the city that waited two months for an answer.
One juror who didn't want to be identified said the government spent too much time, energy and money going after the mayor on minor counts of drug use, much of which was residue of the 1960s "hippie craze."
But Deoudes, a political science major at American University, said that a hung jury on most of the counts should not be considered a vindication.
Deoudes said he does not think any 12 jurors in the District would have returned a different verdict.
Hardeman said that the government could successfully prosecute the mayor on the 12 remaining counts only if it "found 12 people who just wanted to find him guilty."
Most of the jurors would not reveal specifically how jurors voted, saying they had made a pact not to do so.
And though they hesitated to say race played a factor in the deliberations, some of the black jurors said they empathized with the mayor.
One juror said history taught her that laws were meant to be obeyed by blacks and disregarded by whites. The juror maintained that Col. Oliver L. North and President Reagan "got off" on the Iran-Contra scandal.
Deoudes, who assisted in the Oliver North case while working at Williams & Connolly law firm, said he did not think that race was a factor in the jurors' deliberations.
"A lot of people in the city don't have a meeting of the minds. We did the best job we could. I don't think that race, I just don't think any of that nonsense was involved in the deliberations," Deoudes said.
" . . . You don't have to agree but you can all still live together. We were above petty nonsense. We all had just a fabulous rapport. It's amazing because you had people from all walks of life."
Hardeman said the jury watched the tape of the Vista sting over and over seeking evidence of "entrapment." Hardeman said she watched Moore closely, noticing the mayor's reluctance to go into Moore's hotel room and how he finally succumbed.
"She coaxed him to come upstairs," Hardeman said. "It wasn't the crack he wanted. Really what he wanted was sex. He's a man, so I put it like that."
Deoudes said he found no "startling revelations" during the trial, but was "somewhat surprised" by Mundy's admission that the mayor had used drugs. "I wasn't shocked but a little surprised that he said it in open court."
Deoudes said he did not think the jurors were swayed by the presence of Bishop George Augustus Stallings Jr. of Imani Temple and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
"We came there with one purpose. We came there with a job, to just absorb all the testimony and just go over all the evidence and make a decision based on all the evidence, not any outside influence. Mayor Barry's liberty was at stake," the juror said.
Deoudes said yesterday the trial has convinced him that he wants to be a lawyer. And the juror had particular praise for the performance of Barry's attorney, R. Kenneth Mundy, calling him a "great litigator."
"He was clearly the personality of the trial. He had a lot of charisma. He had a good sense of humor and he let it show. If I ever had a legal difficulty, I'd definitely give him a call," Deoudes said.
The juror said he was also impressed by the federal prosecutors, Judith Retchin and Richard Roberts, calling them "fine attorneys."
Of U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, Deoudes said he was grateful that the judge allowed the jurors to go home after they came to their conclusion. "No different results would have come from further deliberations," Deoudes said.
Deoudes, who got his first haircut in about a month yesterday morning, was struggling to readjust to life outside of sequestration. He sometimes referred to the hotel that he had stayed in as "home." He had already received a couple of telephone calls about writing a book. He read the newspapers and caught up with old friends.
During his time in sequestration, Deoudes said he studied for his law school entrance exam. He learned how to play cards with two female jurors. He got depressed on weekend days when the weather was nice. He was afraid he would miss "pro ball." He worshiped on Sunday at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral, accompanied by a federal marshal, except in the final days when marshals worried that the topic of sermons would turn to the Barry trial.
He said he has made lifelong friends with some of the jurors and has taken all of their names and addresses. They have already talked about holding a reunion.
"I think the jury process is the best process in the world," Deoudes said. "There's no doubt in my mind that it is."