The strange saga of Juror B37 could become even stranger, now that the Department of Justice has set up an email Tip Line for the events in Sanford, Florida. The email address is: Sanford.Florida@usdoj.gov
New questions are surfacing about her in the aftermath of the George Zimmerman murder trial. Did Juror B37 or her husband, an attorney, have the motive, means and opportunity to tamper with the jury?
There is no doubt that Juror B37 was anxious to get on to the jury. "In watching her jury interview, one finds a very concerning pattern. As discussed by legal expert Gail Brashers-Krug, a former federal prosecutor and law professor and who is currently a criminal defense attorney in Iowa:
She really wants to be a juror. She seems to be going out of her way to minimize the disruptive effect of a multiweek trial on her life. Jurors rarely do that. She is also taking pains to avoid saying anything particularly sympathetic to either side. Both sides tend to be very skeptical of jurors who are particularly eager to serve on high-profile cases. Often they have their own agendas, or are attention-seekers."
Opportunity. Juror B37 was making the opportunity for herself.
As Juror B37's story unfolded, we came to understand why a person who consumes no media - except for the Today show - and professed such disdain for the media that her household newspapers went unread, becoming bird cage liners. It was remarkable, then, that this sequestered juror and her attorney husband managed to land a book deal less than two days after the Zimmerman verdict. She announced it nationally the Monday following the verdict on AC360.
Juror B37 was masterful in "how to not know anything about something everyone else knows about" although she was under the false (and prejudiced) belief that there were “riots” after the Martin shooting.
While appearing to be pretty much a blank slate, Juror B37 actually made startling statements in her voir dire.
Gail Brashers-Krug...also jumped back when B37 said, "You never get all the information." "That's exactly what a defense attorney loves to hear," says Brashers-Krug. "That's reasonable doubt, right there. If I were a prosecutor, that would make me extremely nervous about her." She adds that B37’s devotion to animals might raise flags for her as well. "The animal thing is weird. She doesn't know how many animals she has, and she mentions her animals far, far more than her two daughters. She strikes me as eccentric and unpredictable. I never, ever want eccentric, unpredictable people on a jury."
During the nationally televised interview with Anderson Cooper on his AC360 show, Juror B37 described the planned book as "always intended to be a respectful observation of the trial from my and my husband’s perspectives..."
Wait! Her husband's perspective?
That leads to the disclosure that the "sequestered" jury wasn't so sequestered after all, as the Judge allowed unsupervised visits of 2 hours a week, according to Florida's WFTV, which obtained a copy of the agreement the Judge had all the jurors sign. "The Seminole County Sheriff's Office said Judge Debra Nelson allowed jurors generally no more than two hours of alone time with visitors once a week."
Juror B37's husband holding a perspective strong enough to co-author a book on the subject? Given unsupervised access during the trial to his wife on the jury? Certainly sounds like there's a possibility that this was more, much more, than a conjugal visit.
Then there's the aspect of how rapidly this book publishing deal was done. According to the Orlando Weekly blog, literary agent Sharlene Martin claimed that B37 had been referred to her "by a high ranking producer at one of the morning shows." That means the juror would have to have established a relationship with a national morning-TV producer, asked said producer to recommend an agent, contacted Martin, and agreed to a deal with her – all within a single Sunday."
Rather an implausible timetable for a single Sunday, unless B37 had someone outside the sequestered jury, like an attorney husband, working to coordinate the tasks of the opportunity. Was B37 acting like a mole inside the jury, confiding trial information to her husband?
And there's a bit more, too, that raises that question. The same Orlando blog notes that Zimmerman's neighbor and friend Frank Taaffe (Twitter's Frank the Tank) appeared on Fox News and HLN on Saturday a few hours before the verdict was read, some insight into the fact that it’s 5 to 1 in favor of acquittal, and the one holdout is now looking at the manslaughter charge."
The Orlando blog continued: "At 2:48 PM on HLN, Taaffe at first merely claimed he was 'very comfortable' in this assessment and 'firmly believe[d]' it was the case; prodded by host Nancy Grace to explain how he had arrived at his belief, he went even further, stating, 'I know it’s 5 to 1.'"
University of Alabama Press Marketing Director J.D. Wilson explained: "Time is of the essence when trying to sell a book dealing with a high-profile case. Wilson said it would have been possible for the book to wind up on shelves as quick as four to six weeks from now and sell up to 200,000 copies. Revenue from the book could have been anywhere from $2.5 million to $4 million.
Juror B37 herself could have received an advance of up to $100,000, he said.
"I think the juror would see a big check really fast," he said. "Then she would just have to finish the book."
As Nathaniel Downes of Addicting Information.com summarized the strange saga of Juror B-37:
"We find a juror with their own agenda, who managed to sneak her way onto the jury, with unsupervised access to an element harboring their own viewpoint and opinion, and who aimed to profit off of a non-guilty verdict. She had the means, by having access to her husband unsupervised. She had the motive, by profiting off of a book deal. And she had the opportunity by being on the jury in the first place."