Judge issues strict order against talking to jurors in Villalobos trial
Fri, 17 May 2013 19:53:54 GMT —
Concerns about members of the media talking to jurors in the Armando Villalobos trial prompted a federal judge to take action.
The former Cameron County District Attorney is facing multiple corruption charges but maintains his innocence.
Testimony started before U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen at the Brownsville federal courthouse on Monday.
The trial is expected to last at least two weeks but federal prosecutor Gregory Surovic made a surprise announcement on Friday morning.
Surovic told Judge Hanen on Friday morning that a member of the media tried to interview or speak with a juror whlie leaving the courthouse.
By early Friday afternoon, Judge Hanen issued an order forbidding the prosecution, defense team, spectators or media from speaking with the jurors.
"We have too much time and money invested in this case," Judge Hanen said in open court.
Judge Hanen ordered deputy U.S. Marshals to be posted outside courthouse after testimony ends on Friday and arrest anyone who tries to speak to a juror.
Hanen told the courtroom that anybody found ignoring the order would be found in contempt of court regardless of their employment or connection to the case.