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A former modeling agency executive has been arrested on charges that she tampered with a jury in an unusual civil suit over cigarette smoke in the workplace. The executive, Mary Ann D’Angelico, voluntarily surrendered to authorities Tuesday morning. She is accused of speaking to a juror in a courthouse restroom in an attempt to influence the multimillion-dollar lawsuit by a former employee. D’Angelico was awaiting arraignment at press time. She faces up to one year in prison if convicted of the Class A misdemeanor. Her attorney, Daniel J. Horwitz, a partner at Carter Ledyard & Milburn, said she would fight the charge. “We feel that the charge is not warranted, and we will vigorously challenge the allegations at trial,” he said. D’Angelico was a named defendant in a lawsuit against the agency, Elite Model Management, by a former sales director who had been fired. She still works at Elite, but she is no longer an officer of the company. Horwitz said her change in status was unrelated to the lawsuit. The former sales director, Victoria Gallegos, alleged that cigarette smoke in the workplace aggravated her asthma, caused chronic sinusitis and made her cough up blood. She had worked at Elite for six weeks, she said, when she was fired for complaining about the smoke. Gallegos sued, and a jury awarded her $5.2 million, including $2.6 million in punitive damages. She had asked for only $4.6 million, and Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Louis B. York later reduced the award to $4.3 million. While the jury was deliberating over the damages, D’Angelico allegedly tried to disparage Gallegos during a conversation with a juror in the women’s room. The juror, Barbara Yanoscik, told another juror, John D. Albright, who is an attorney, about the conversation. Albright informed Justice York. The judge dismissed both jurors and seated two alternates who voted with the remaining four jurors for the $5.2 million verdict ( NYLJ Jan. 7, 2004). In an interview last year, Albright said he and Yanoscik were the least sympathetic to Gallegos’ claims, though like the rest of the jury they agreed that Elite was liable for compensatory damages. Albright said when he and Yanoscik were dismissed, the other jurors were upset. The event, he said, could have changed the dynamic of the trial and made it more favorable to the plaintiff. Elite is seeking an appeal of the verdict.

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