A motion seeking a mistrial in the corruption case of former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno was denied this morning by U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe. The motion, delivered by one of Bruno’s attorneys, William Dreyer, came a day after the presiding judge lashed out against the former senator. Bruno addressed yesterday's events in his morning statement to the media.
According to The Associated Press, Bruno on Thursday turned to his attorney to question why Sharpe let Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Coombe ask an additional question of the day’s last witness following the judge’s insistence that the defense attorney be brief in his questioning. Sharpe this morning said he heard Bruno say, “See, I told you his rulings were unfair.”
Bruno insisted the comment was made solely to his attorney. But Sharpe said it was “clearly audible to me” and could’ve been within earshot of the jury. Dreyer said the motion was filed because of an “appearance of impropriety” on behalf of the court.
As jurors took their seats today, Sharpe instructed them to ignore any exchanges between him and the attorneys. He insisted they base their judgments solely on the evidence and testimony.