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Juror coronavirus scare pauses JT Burnette trial

Posted at 11:23 AM, Jul 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-16 22:03:56-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The federal corruption trial of JT Burnette has been postponed indefinitely, the judge announced Friday morning.

Judge Robert Hinkle initially said there was a scheduling conflict after a private conversation with the attorneys.

A statement from Judge Hinkle released Friday afternoon said one of the jurors visited her mother at a local hospital’s emergency room Thursday night where her mother was later diagnosed with COVID-19 and pneumonia.

The unvaccinated juror and her mother live in the same house, though they have had no close contact in recent days.

At the emergency room, the juror and her mother were masked and perhaps three or four feet from one another.

The juror reported the possible exposure to the court security officer at the front desk immediately upon arrival at the courthouse this morning. She was immediately separated from all others. She did not expose any other juror today

The juror said she was already arranging to be tested when asked by the court’s staff to do so and will report the results to the court’s staff.

The trial will resume when testing confirms that no remaining juror has been exposed and it is safe to go forward.

Both sides agreed with this procedure, and when asked, none of the remaining jurors reported any discomfort with it.

A notice will be posted on the public docket when the date is set for the resumption of the trial.