Aafia Siddiqui Trial: Two Jurors Excused, Defense Calls for Mistrial

The second week of the trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui began with a series of surprising twists and turns.

Two jurors were excused from the case after they informed Judge Richard Berman that they were approached by a public supporter of Siddiqui’s. An eyewitness in the gallery described the man as a Pakistani male wearing white turban. It was reported that he approached two of the jurors to ask them how the case was going. He was arrested and was taken out of the building in handcuffs.

Judge Richard Berman declined the defense attorney’s application to remove enhanced security on the grounds that it prejudices the jury. In his ruling Judge Berman cited both the incident of the individual approaching the jury and members of the defense team bringing in an additional cell phone as reasons for the denial. It is not uncommon to have additional security in high profile cases; he cited the high profile case of Martha Stewart which also drew a large amount of public interest.

Judge Berman also declined the defense attorney’s call for a mistrial. That request was based on the grounds that Aafia Siddiqui was mishandled by the Marshall; thus her pre-supposition of innocence was negated.

The attorney argued that the way Aafia Siddqui was taken out of the court prejudices the jury and that she was “treated her like a criminal” Berman denied the appeal and said that the defense team should try to establish a rapport with defendant and advise her not to speak out of turn. Dr. Siddiqui has repeatedly dismissed her defense team. However, her outbursts in court indicate that she is not mentally stable and at times unclear about what is happening.

Though she was calm for most of the day in two outbursts she claimed that it was in fact Captain Snyder who shot her and not the Chief warrant Officer as told by the Prosecution and their witnesses.

Female army medic Rene Card also testified today. She was presented with a copy of a sworn statement signed by her shortly after the incident in which she told FBI agents that she was asked by her superiors not to mention Captain Snyder’s name. At the time she reportedly said that she was told ‘don’t say that she (defendant) took Capt Snyder’s gun otherwise he “would get fried”. Nothing will happen to the Chief Warrant Officer’.

At the hearing, however, Card did not recall signing the statement or making the statement.

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