Citing juror misconduct and using a sworn statement by the foreman of the Lucas County jury that convicted Tom Noe, the one-time Republican insider is asking for a new trial.
Noe's attorneys filed a motion for a new trial and a petition for post-conviction relief in Lucas County Common Pleas Court Thursday. The requests ask Judge Gene Zmuda to hold a hearing as to whether jurors in the case found Noe guilty of multiple charges "just to get the case finished."
"The jury did not deliberate and reach a verdict based upon the evidence presented at trial. I, and the rest of the jury, felt overwhelmed by the numerous exhibits that we were expected to go through," said jury foreman James Petiniot in an affidavit signed July 31 and filed with the motion for a new trial. ". By the end, a couple of the jurors felt they had an obligation to convict and just wanted to get it over with. In the end, a couple of jurors gave up and said they would just go along with what the others decided."
Mr. Petiniot, 70, of Toledo, could not be reached for comment.
Assistant Lucas County Prosecutor John Weglian dismissed the claims as without merit, pointing out that not only did the jury not find Noe guilty of each count, but even if they had decided quickly to finish up the case, the law does not allow a juror to impeach the verdict absent some outside source showing misconduct.
"There's only one person saying something anyway," he said. ".That's why things relating to jury deliberations are not subject to inquiry. Unless there is an external showing of wrongdoing, not just a juror complaining about something, then the court does have the authority to question the verdict."
The criminal case against Noe concluded in November, 2006, with a jury convicting him on 29 charges of corruption, theft, money laundering, and tampering with records. He was found not guilty on 11 other charges and several others were dismissed or consolidated.
Former Common Pleas Judge Thomas Osowik sentenced him to 18 years in state prison and ordered him to pay millions of dollars in restitution.
In their appeal filed June 30 in the Sixth District Court of Appeals, his attorneys asked that Noe be acquitted on all 29 charges.
Defense attorneys William Wilkinson and John Mitchell did not return calls seeking comment yesterday afternoon.
Noe is serving a 27-month federal sentence in central Florida after pleading guilty to charges that he made $45,000 in illegal contributions to President Bush's re-election campaign.
Following his federal time, Noe will be brought back to Ohio to serve his 18-year state sentence.