USA v MRT enters a new phase of the trial this week.
Closing arguments concluded Friday, March 24 after a 97 minute rebuttal to the defense’s argument Thursday. The US government got the last word.
The case is now in the hands of the jury. The jury recessed for the weekend having not reached a verdict and will resume their deliberations this Monday, March 27 at 8:00 am.
The jury is distinguished by its youth, demographic diversity and level of educational attainment. It is a jury of his peers that looks like the working class constituents he has served over the past 30+ years.
THE JURY’S OPTIONS
The jury must consider all the evidence in the case, then decide MRT’s fate. They must determine whether the government has proven beyond a reasonable doubt whether MRT committed the crimes to which he has been accused.
ACQUITTAL means he was found “not guilty” by all twelve jurors.
MISTRIAL means the jury was divided and could not reach unanimity.
GUILTY means all twelve jurors have been convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of MRT’s guilt.
Each circumstance has different implications for MRT’s fate and future.
The jury returns to court Monday, March 27 at 8:00 AM to resume deliberations. When and if the members of the jury reach a verdict in the case, they will notify the judge. The court will communicate directly to the defense and prosecution that the verdict has been rendered. As soon as all the parties have assembled in the courtroom, the verdict will be read.
The verdict may be read within minutes of it being reached, since Councilmember Ridley-Thomas and his team will be in the courthouse for the duration of the jury’s deliberations. We will be unable to notify you to come to the courthouse in time for you to witness the verdict when it is read unless you are already there.
Therefore, if you would like to be present when the verdict is rendered, you will have to be in the courtroom by the time Councilmember Ridley-Thomas returns to his seat at the Defendant’s table following the Court’s notification to him.
No matter the outcome, in the days, weeks and months ahead Mark Ridley-Thomas and his family will need our continuing support. There can be no question that the solidarity that has been expressed by the community has had an impact. His Morris and Foerster Defense team led by Daralyn Durie, Ghalia Avram, Arturo González, Ramsey Fischer, Jessie Lanier and Christina Randall was magnificent. The testimony of his former staff – Karly Katona, Michael Hochman, Yolanda Vera and Emily Williams – was stellar. Taken as a whole or individually, it reflected fully the standard of excellence MRT has always brought to a contest.
It may not be entirely clear at the moment precisely what support MRT may need in the near future, but we do know he has accumulated a significant debt, his reputation has been diminished by a year and a half of adverse publicity and questions have been raised about his legacy of work and his accomplishments over the past three decades. Please begin considering whether, what and how we may be able to assist. And be on alert for a CALL TO ACTION as we pass through this stage of the struggle for truth and justice to prevail.
Mark Ridley-Thomas’ struggle is our struggle.