OGDEN -- A juror in the Jamie Waite trial who may have been threatened in the parking lot of the courthouse is the centerpiece of a motion for a new trial for Waite.
The former Ben Lomond High School swim coach was sentenced last week to 210 days in Weber County Jail. Waite, 37, was convicted at trial in March of four counts of forcible sexual abuse for a sexual relationship with one of her 17-year-old charges on the boy's swim team.
The Ogden 2nd District Court jury only deliberated 90 minutes March 1 after three days of testimony in finding Waite guilty as charged in a three-month sexual entanglement with the teen.
At one point during the trial, a man approached a juror in the parking lot upon returning to the courthouse from a lunch recess. The man talked with her about her son, who is an inmate at Utah State Prison.
Another juror overheard the parking lot conversation and reported it to a bailiff as an apparent threat. Judge Scott Hadley closed the courtroom and had both jurors take the stand individually and recount the incident. Neither juror was removed from the jury.
Officials agree on those facts about the encounter, but disagree on what was said to the juror in the parking lot.
"She was told that the trial better go a certain way or her son in the prison could face consequences," said Emily Swenson, Waite's lawyer who filed the motion for a new trial.
Swenson said Waite's public defender and the judge should have investigated the incident further, or removed one or both of the jurors.
But Teral Tree, the deputy Weber County Attorney who prosecuted Waite's trial, said the juror controversy is "a total misunderstanding."
Tree declined to comment on the motion, but said his recollection of the two jurors in the closed courtroom session was the juror who reported the contact was unsure of the threat, but felt it needed to be reported.
The allegedly threatened juror said she wasn't threatened, said Tree, the man being a former inmate himself who knew her son from the prison and simply asked how he was.
Swenson was not Waite's attorney at the time, but said her investigation of the jurors says there was a threat. She declined to elaborate except to say the juror downplayed the threat out of concern for her son.
Swenson's motion alleging jury misconduct also claims another member of the jury was from Waite's ward in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and tainted the jury with her knowledge of rumors about Waite that made the rounds in the ward.
"On information and belief the juror disclosed her personal knowledge regarding witnesses or the defendant to other jurors," reads the motion.
Randall Marshall, Waite's public defender during the trial, declined comment on the motion, which is critical of his trial work.
"Randall told me he's all for the motion if it will help Jamie, because he believes she is innocent," Swenson said.
The jury found Waite had her affair with her 17-year-old male swimmer from November 2010 through January 2011. She was arrested in March 2011.