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Monday, October 25, 2010

Defendant locked up for contacting juror in Massachusetts

A Grafton Street man on trial on bank embezzlement and attempted counterfeiting charges was locked up today after the foreman of the deliberating jury in his case reported that she was approached by someone on his behalf over the weekend.
Judge Peter W. Agnes Jr. revoked George Labadie's release on personal recognizance after hearing from him and the female juror and ordered that Mr. Labadie remain in custody without bail until the conclusion of the Worcester Superior Court trial.
The juror, who was later discharged and replaced by an alternate juror, told Judge Agnes during a private sidebar conference this morning that Mr. Labadie was present Saturday when another man approached her at the restaurant where she worked, according to a summary of her comments the judge provided in open court.
When told by Judge Agnes that he was considering holding him in summary criminal contempt, Mr. Labadie asked to respond. Mr. Labadie said he and a man he identified as Chad Richardson happened to be in the restaurant in question Saturday, when he thought he recognized the woman as a juror in his case. He said he told Mr. Richardson he had to leave and did so after purchasing the sandwich he had ordered.
At some point while they were still in the restaurant, Mr. Richardson left his side, Mr. Labadie explained to Judge Agnes.
“I never sent anybody to approach anybody, your Honor,” he said.
Mr. Labadie went on to say that he first met the juror in question eight to ten years ago at a diner. He said he saw her on a couple of occasions after that and gave her his cell phone number.
On Wednesday, Oct. 13, two days after his trial began, Mr. Labadie said he was on the front steps of the courthouse smoking a cigarette when the juror walked by him and told him he looked familiar. She then said she considered all police officers “ ‘liars,'” according to Mr. Labadie.
After telling her he could not talk to her and starting to walk away, he received a cell phone call from the woman and hung up as soon as he recognized her voice, Mr. Labadie told the judge.
As he was leaving the courthouse that day, he said, he walked by the woman and she said, “ ‘Good night, sweetie,' ” according to Mr. Labadie. He described another courthouse encounter with the juror after she reportedly got on the elevator in which he was riding.
He said he did not recognize the woman as someone he knew during jury selection in his case and did not report their later conversations to the court or his lawyer, H. Hoover Garabedian, because he was frightened and did not know what to do.
Judge Agnes spoke to the juror privately again after hearing from Mr. Labadie. Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey T. Travers asked that Mr. Labadie be held on $100,000 cash bail during the pendency of his trial.
Mr. Labadie, 51, and his wife, 59-year-old Susan Carcieri, are accused of staging an Aug. 27, 2002, robbery at the Wyman_Gordon Federal Credit Union at 530 Grafton St., where Ms. Carcieri worked, and stealing $210,000. They are also facing attempted counterfeiting charges based on items police said they seized during a search of the couple's home at 521 Grafton St. two days after the reported robbery.
After Mr. Travers made his bail request this morning, Judge Agnes said he credited the testimony of the juror, and not Mr. Labadie, concerning their contacts. Saying he was concerned about the risk of jury “contamination,” he revoked Mr. Labadie's release on his own recognizance and ordered him held without bail until the trial is over.
The judge then excused the jury foreperson, replaced her with an alternate juror, and directed the jurors to begin their deliberations anew.
The jury had deliberated for more than 17 hours over three days without reaching a verdict.

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