A potential juror asked to be dismissed from a Palm Beach County murder case, and the excuse she gave the judge is a shocker: She said she was threatened by State Attorney Michael McAuliffe and couldn’t be impartial!
The entire incident was captured on this court-surveillance video exclusively obtained by Gossip Extra:
The potential juror was identified as Melissa McKinlay, a divorced mother of three, who was asked to do her civic duty in connection with a nightclub shooting case.
McKinlay happens to work as a legislative liaison for Palm Beach County.
“I can follow the principles of law,” McKinlay told the judge. “But I don’t think I can give the state a fair trial.”
Later in the Oct. 14, 2011, hearing, McKinlay told the judge she was “threatened by the state attorney in a parking lot after a meeting.”
“THE elected state attorney?” Kastrenakes asked, visibly shocked.
“Yes,” McKinlay responds, “and I think I might be a little biased.”
Kastrenakes briefly conferred with the lawyers in the case and all agreed to let McKinlay go.
McAuliffe’s spokeswoman declined comment.
McKinlay told me today McAuliffe was very matter-of-fact when he told her, after a January 26, 2011 meeting of the Florida League of Cities in Jupiter: “Be careful who you spend time with and who you listen to when it comes to my office!”
“He was very cold about it and that’s why he scared me,” McKinlay said earlier today.
She told Kastranekes during jury selection she didn’t know why McAuliffe allegedly threatened her. But sources speculated that McKinlay’s friendship with McAuliffe’s former spokesman, Mike Edmondson, may have sparked McAuliffe’s conversation with her. McAuliffe and Edmondson didn’t part in good terms. McKinlay described McAuliffe as “intimidating.”
McAuliffe is running for re-election.