One the first day of its deliberations, the jury stopped to ask a question just 15 minutes into its session. The question: What’s the definition of an “overt act,” of which there must be proof to find a conspiracy? Then, at 3:15 that afternoon, the jury had another question: “Does false statement or fraudulent statement include omission by definition?”
There have been no questions since – until today. This morning, jurors asked for a copy of the Code of Federal Regulations relating to student certifications on immigration forms. The basis for the immigration charges against Al-Hussayen – seven charges of visa fraud and four of false statements – is that he certified repeatedly that he was entering the country “solely” to study, but actually engaged in other activities outside class, including volunteer work to operate and maintain Web sites.
Could it be that the jurors disposed of the three terrorism charges – which include the conspiracy question - that first morning, and have been deliberating all this time just on the immigration charges? That’s one possibility suggested by the questions. Another is that the first day was simply devoted to trying to read and understand the 58 pages of jury instructions, and that process raised questions. Since the judge’s response to both those questions was simply to refer the jurors back to their instructions, they may have decided to stop asking.