NEW YORK – The juror who reportedly gave defense lawyers an "OK" hand sign during the trial of two former Tyco International (TYC) executives denied in a CBS interview Tuesday that she signaled them in any way.
Ruth Jordan (search) "absolutely, flatly and repeatedly denied" making the hand gesture that some reporters saw as a sign to defense lawyers that she was holding out for acquittal of the two, said CBS News' Dan Rather, who interviewed her for "60 Minutes II."
"She said she never made any motion to the defense," Rather reported, "and she said she certainly didn't make an 'OK' sign. She said she just didn't do it, and she said she couldn't do it. She just flat denied it."
Jordan, 79, explained that she frequently brushes back her hair because of the aftereffects of a medical condition, shingles, on her face, Rather said. He said she told him her hair on the sensitive places causes pain so she often pulls it back.
"Her hand went up to the side of her face several times" during the interview, Rather said, "and she's a person who speaks with her hands."
The show airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. EDT on CBS.
After some news outlets reported Jordan had given the defense the signal and disclosed her name in news articles, she received an intimidating letter and telephone call. News organizations usually do not report the names of sitting jurors.
After Jordan reported the contacts to state Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus (search), he declared a mistrial Friday in the cases of L. Dennis Kozlowski (search), 57, Tyco's former chief executive officer, and Mark H. Swartz, 43, the former chief financial officer.
The former executives, accused of looting Tyco of $600 million, had been charged with grand larceny, falsifying business records, conspiracy and securities fraud. Each would have faced up to 30 years in prison if convicted.
Rather said Jordan told him she received the call between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. Friday.
"The caller said something along the lines of, 'How much money are Kozlowski and Swartz paying you to do what you're doing?'" Rather reported.
The news anchor said Jordan told him she was intimidated by the letter, received the night before the mistrial, and the telephone call, which she considered "possibly threatening."
She told Obus about both the next morning, and the judge ended the trial.
Police traced the typed letter, which was signed and inside a handwritten envelope, to Massachusetts, where they interviewed the writer last week.
The author "thought there was already a mistrial and was complaining to her about it," a police official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The writer has not been charged with any crime, and authorities in Manhattan say the investigation is continuing.
Rather said Jordan, a former teacher who became a lawyer in her late 50s, praised the judge and her fellow jurors, despite indications in jury notes during deliberations that they were not getting along.