Anderson Cooper Interviews Keith Rohman on Investigating Juries

Anderson Cooper 360

COOPER: In the movie “Runaway Jury,” Gene Hackman played a ruthless consultant who’s paid to learn everything about prospective jurors, pick which ones will help his client and even blackmail them to voting his way. But how much of the movie was simply Hollywood and how much really happens? With jurors from the Martha Stewart and the Tyco trials making front page news, the question takes on new insurgency. How far do investigators really go?

Let’s talk with one of them in “Justice Served,” L.A. private investigator Keith Rohman. In the scenes from “Runaway Jury,” obviously, that’s, you know, John Grisham, Hollywood. But how deep do you go into investigating juries?

KEITH ROHMAN, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Well, the thing that’s sort of askew about the clip is that the investigation is happening before the jury is selected, and not that much investigation goes on of jurors before they’re selected, because there just isn’t really the time or the money, really, to get that work done.

COOPER: So you’re investigating a jury at the request of, let’s say, a defense attorney because some they’ve lost, and they want to find out if there is anything they can call from the background of the jurors to overturn the case, is that right?

ROHMAN: Well, there’s two things you investigate after a trial. One is the conduct of the jurors during the trial. Did they do anything that violated the rules they agreed to? And two, did they say anything before they were picked for the jury that turns out not to have been true? That’s the situation, I think, we’re confronting in the Martha Stewart case, did the juror in that case say something before he was picked that turned out not to be the case?

COOPER: So how do you go about doing this? I mean, you go interview people, you go interview their friends, their family?

ROHMAN: Well, mostly what you do when you’re investigating a jury is you talk to the people who were on the jury at the time. You approach them, you introduce yourself as working for one side or the other, and you ask them questions about what happened in the deliberations? What did people say? What did you learn about your fellow jurors? That’s the main approach.

COOPER: But if you’re also looking to find stuff that they may have lied about on their original jury application, I imagine you go into their personal lives. I mean, in the Martha Stewart case, they’re trying to find out, you know, they say this one of the jurors was taking cocaine, that he had abused somebody. You, obviously, do try to find some information, I suppose.

ROHMAN: Sure. And most of that work involves you use the public record, that’s the place you start. You’re looking for court cases, litigation they were involved in, did they pick up a traffic ticket that they didn’t talk about it? The stuff that you can find quickly.

The Martha Stewart case is an unusual situation, obviously. You have got a case in which a client has got an extraordinary amount of resources, so that they may have gone an extra step, I don’t really know what process they went through to find their way to the witness that they’re using.

COOPER: Your advice to jurors?

ROHMAN: Tell the truth when you’re selected for a jury. That’s the key thing. What the Martha Stewart juror is getting in trouble for is potentially having misrepresented something about his past or background. You know, we all hear family, friends, everybody talking about, well, what should I say when I’m picked for the jury? I tell the people, tell the truth and things will go a little more smoothly.

COOPER: All right, Keith Rohman from L.A. Thanks very much, Keith.