Sacramento -- One of 12 jurors who convicted a 23-year-old Lodi man Tuesday on charges that he trained for holy war disavowed the verdict late Thursday, alleging that she was bullied into a guilty finding amid a pattern of misconduct by fellow panelists.
"I never once throughout the deliberation process and the reading of the verdict believed Hamid Hayat to be guilty," Arcelia Lopez, a 44-year-old school nurse from Sacramento, said in a 2,000-word affidavit filed to the U.S. District Court in Sacramento by the defense just after 9 p.m.
Among other accusations, Lopez said the jury's foreman, near the start of the two-month trial, "gestured as if he was tying a rope around his neck" and said, "Hang him." Lopez said the gesture was repeated throughout the trial and that she believed it was a reference to Hayat.
Hayat's attorney, Wazhma Mojaddidi, said Lopez's claims should prompt U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell Jr. to grant the young man a new trial. Hayat now faces 30 to 39 years in prison at a July 14 sentencing.