PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Judge Anna Brown agreed to dismiss a juror in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge standoff case Wednesday morning after his impartiality came into question during deliberations.
Juror 11 will be replaced with an alternate and the jury will start deliberating again from the beginning.
Jurors submitted 2 notes to Judge Brown on Tuesday, one of which revealed Juror 11 had said he was “very biased” after questions were raised by Juror 4.
Juror 11 reportedly worked as a Bureau of Land Management ranch technician and firefighter decades ago.
The BLM is under the same federal umbrella as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
During voir dire, he was asked if his connection with the BLM would affect his ability to be impartial. Not really, he replied, “that was more than 20 years ago.”
Judge Brown summoned both sides of the case in response to the notes. She met with Juror 11 Tuesday afternoon and said she found no basis he was untruthful.
On Wednesday Morning, Ammon Bundy filed a motion to have the juror dismissed or declare a mistrial. Both the prosecution and defense agreed to dismiss him.
Judge Brown sent the jury home for the day and told them to prepare to re-start deliberations at 8:30 a.m. Thursday. All prior verdict forms will be destroyed.
“You’ll have to set aside the conclusions you’ve drawn and start over,” she advised.
Alternate Juror 18 will travel to Portland from Central Oregon in time to hear Judge Brown’s jury instructions when she reads them for the second time Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report