SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A juror said in a sworn statement that she was pressured into casting the final vote to convict a man of attending a Pakistani terrorist training camp.
"I was under so much stress and pressure (from the other jurors) that I agreed to change my vote," Arcelia Lopez of Sacramento said in her statement. "I never once throughout the deliberation process and the reading of the verdict believed Hamid Hayat to be guilty."
Meanwhile, prosecutors are expected to tell U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. on Friday if they will retry Hayat's father, 48-year-old Umer Hayat, after jurors deadlocked on whether he was guilty of lying to FBI agents about his son's alleged terrorist training.
Prosecutors in Hamid Hayat's case have said repeatedly since Tuesday's verdict that they don't believe there was any improper influence on jurors, and that any pressure on Lopez was part of the normal jury deliberation process.
Though emotional, Lopez confirmed her guilty vote in open court Tuesday when all 12 jurors were questioned by presiding U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr.
"I deeply regret my decision," Lopez said in the affidavit obtained by defense investigator and former FBI agent James Wedick.
Lopez said in her affidavit that by last Friday she was the lone holdout in the case. She went to a medical clinic Saturday with a migraine headache and believed "my health and physical well-being were being affected by the pressure from the other jurors to change my vote."
On Monday she learned the jury's foreman, Joseph Cote of Folsom, had sent Burrell a note saying Lopez was causing an impasse in deliberations. That note was made public Wednesday. Cote did not return a telephone message seeking comment left at his home.
Prosecutors say Hayat, 23, should face a minimum 30 years in prison at his July 14 sentencing based on his convictions on charges he provided material support by attending the terror camp in 2003 and lying about it to FBI agents when he was questioned after he returned to the United States in May.
Hayat told agents in an hours-long videotaped statement that he was awaiting orders to carry out a religious war against targets such as banks, groceries and hospitals. Mojaddidi disputes the confession and says there is no direct proof Hayat attended the camp.
Both Hamid and Umer Hayat were detained along with two Muslim religious leaders in what authorities suggested was part of a terrorist movement in Lodi, located in a grape-growing region 35 miles south of the state capital. The two imams and one man's son were deported for immigration violations, however, and the Hayats were the only people criminally charged in the probe.