A bomb scare at a federal bombing trial in Phoenix was enough to disrupt the proceedings but not enough to warrant a mistrial in the case against two white supremacist brothers accused in an attack on a black city official in Scottsdale.
The scare happened when a U.S. marshal saw a small metal container in a planter. Part of the building was evacuated and no one was allowed to leave or enter the building as it examined.
The container turned out to have marijuana inside.
Defense attorneys for twin brothers Dennis and Daniel Mahon, both of Davis Junction, Ill., argued the incident would scare jurors and taint their eventual verdict, so they asked for a mistrial.
Judge David Campbell questioned all 16 jurors and alternates about whether it concerned any of them or would affect their decision-making.
They all said no.
“I don't believe there is any way for this jury to put that out of their mind entirely,” defense attorney Barbara Hull said. “In the interest of justice a mistrial should be granted.”
Defense attorney Deborah Williams said most of the jurors were tainted because when one of them tried to leave the courthouse during a short break, a U.S. marshal told her she couldn't leave because of a “bomb scare.”
That juror then told other jurors what the Marshal had said.
“That evinces a level of concern,” Williams said. “I just have concluded at this point that the jury has been contaminated.”
Campbell disagreed, saying that all the jurors said the incident did not concern them and that they could remain fair and impartial.
The Mahon brothers have pleaded not guilty to the 2004 bombing of Don Logan, Scottsdale's diversity director at the time. Logan's hand and arm were injured, and a secretary was injured.
Logan was in court Tuesday, sitting about 20 feet from the brothers, who sat quietly during the day's proceedings.
Since the trial began earlier this month, jurors have heard recordings of the Mahons using racial epithets for black and Hispanic people and saying that violence is the only answer for white men.
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