The jury foreman in last year’s trial of a Lodi man convicted of attending a terrorist training camp in Pakistan will be the one on the witness stand Friday in a Sacramento courtroom, this time to face questions by defense attorneys seeking a new trial for Hamid Hayat.

Joseph Cote will be asked about what is being called the “hangman gesture” Cote allegedly made to other jurors Feb. 21, 2006, the second day of testimony in Hayat’s trial. He also said, “Hang him,” according to an affidavit a fellow juror signed two days after Hayat’s April 25 conviction.

U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. ordered the special hearing on Cote’s conduct before he allows attorneys for Hayat and the government to expand orally on their written arguments filed in court in recent months.

Defense attorneys cite what they call juror misconduct and Burrell’s legal missteps as reasons Hayat, a U.S.-born citizen of Pakistani descent, should receive a new trial.

Prosecutor Robert Tice-Raskin said last week that Hayat should not receive a new trial, because, as Tice-Raskin stated in the government’s opposition papers, none of the Lodi man’s arguments meet the legal threshold for a second chance.

Defense attorney Wazhma Mojaddidi said the hearing on Cote is an acknowledgment by Burrell that prosecutors tried only to minimize the effect Cote’s alleged gesture had on other jurors rather than deny it happened.

Mojaddidi added that the gesture, along with a racial statement Cote uttered that allegedly troubled at least three other jurors, and his comments published in an Atlantic Monthly article show that Cote hid his bias when the jury was being selected.

“A combination of all his actions from the beginning to the end just shows he shouldn’t have been a juror in this case,” Mojaddidi said. “The argument is, had he been truthful, we would have dismissed him.”


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