Stevens Juror: She Was Off Playin’ The Ponies (Audio)

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 11/03/2008 | Stevens juror left for horse race, not her father’s funeral
WASHINGTON — Juror No. 4 in Sen. Ted Stevens’ federal corruption trial, otherwise known as Marian Hinnant, didn’t leave the trial to attend her father’s funeral in California, as she told the judge at the time.

Instead, Hinnant had a plane ticket to see the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita Park near Los Angeles and didn’t want to miss it, she told the judge Monday. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan had ordered her to court to find out why she’d left town and lost contact with him, forcing him to replace her just hours before the jury found the Republican Alaska senator guilty last week.

“I just wanted to go to the Breeders’ Cup,” she told reporters outside the courthouse in a rambling and at times incoherent interview.

Rambling and incoherent is right; there’s a consistent “clop-clop” sound as people walk along with her to the nearby Metro stop in Washington DC. It sounds like they walked down the escalators (they’re often out of service, necessitating a long walk down several levels to the tracks). Late in the recording, you can hear the hollow, “wooooooooosh” of an approaching subway carriage. And at the end she says “you have a good day now” or something and the tape cuts off.

She’s an Avis customer service agent who sometimes works at the airport, sometimes works at Avis’ Union Station branch. It’s hard to hear and she contradicts herself a few times, saying at one point that Stevens was guilty, or not guilty and she didn’t say that, but then that he’s just as guilty as all other Congressmen. Then she goes on to include a number of other Presidents and politicians in her rant, including Reagan and Jimmy Carter.

She says in the recording that a former employer started the Breeder’s Cup in Santa Anita, CA, apparently John R. Gaines. He seems to have been very prominent in horse-racing but I wonder what the heck this lady’s connection with him and why she felt she had to mention his name as part of her “excuse.”

Her main argument is that she just really needed to be there, having bought plane tickets. It’s an odd, odd recording. No telling why she veers into a rambling discussion of how she wasn’t the one that took the marijuana or the drugs, but she denied being “on medication.”

Honest, there seems to be a massive disconnect between her ears, her brain, and her mouth. They seem to work independently of each other, at random intervals. It’s disturbing.

Oh, and she’s not the juror that was known for making loud or violent outbursts that made it difficult for the jurors to deliberate. That was apparently Juror No. 9.

A weird bit of trivia is that the current chairman of the Breeders’ Cup, William Farish Jr, was a former aide of George H.W. Bush’s. I guess at those rarefied levels, you’re not that far from the reins of power.

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