Juror’s death puts ex-Jefferies trader’s fraud trial on hold

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By Mary Ellen Godin

<span class="articleLocation”>Jury deliberations in the federal fraud case
against a former Jefferies Group bond trader were put on hold
unexpectedly on Tuesday, after an alternate juror died following
a heart attack and another juror was injured in a car accident
over the holiday weekend.

Gasps filled the New Haven, Connecticut courtroom of Chief
Judge Janet Hall as she told federal prosecutors and lawyers for
the defendant Jesse Litvak about the death of the 47-year-old
male alternate juror.

“In all my years on the bench, this has never happened,”
Hall said.

The judge said the injured female juror was shaken up and
using painkillers, but expected to return on Wednesday. Lawyers
for both sides agreed to let a court clerk talk with the juror
about her ability to serve.

Hall did not tell the five-man, seven-woman jury about the
alternate juror’s death, but directed a clerk to instruct the
panel that deliberations were expected to resume on Wednesday.

“I suppose I will have to tell them at some point,” Hall
said. One alternate juror remains.

Litvak is on trial for a second time for having allegedly
defrauded his customers about bond prices, causing them to
overpay for bonds they bought and accept less for bonds they
sold, to make more money for his employer and himself.

Defense lawyers have said Litvak’s customers were
sophisticated investors who would have known not to rely on what
prosecutors called Litvak’s “lies.”

Litvak had been convicted in March 2014 and sentenced to two
years in prison, but the conviction was overturned on appeal.

The defendant faces 10 securities fraud counts in his
retrial. Closing arguments were given on Friday, and jurors
briefly retired to begin deliberations, which had been expected
to resume on Tuesday.

Jefferies is a unit of Leucadia National Corp.

The case is U.S. v. Litvak, U.S. District Court, District of
Connecticut, No. 13-cr-00019.

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