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A New York state judge has dismissed jury tampering charges against a former modeling agency executive accused of trying to influence a juror in a suit over cigarette smoke in the workplace. Criminal Court Judge ShawnDya L. Simpson said that a criminal complaint from prosecutors did not show that the executive, Mary Ann D’Angelico, tried to influence the outcome of the case when she allegedly spoke to a juror in a courthouse restroom. “A communication with a juror is not in [and] of itself a violation of the law,” Simpson wrote in People v. D’Angelico, 054105/04. “Additional facts must be alleged for a showing that the communication could have influenced the juror or the outcome of the proceeding.” Simpson’s ruling was delivered in mid-December and obtained by the Law Journal Tuesday. She dismissed the case without prejudice. D’Angelico’s attorney, Daniel J. Horwitz, a partner at Carter Ledyard & Milburn, said he was pleased with the ruling. “I can only hope that the deficiencies in the pleadings are reflective of the lack of evidence in the case and that the district attorney will use appropriate discretion and decide not to refile the charges,” Horwitz said. A spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney’s office declined to comment. D’Angelico was arrested and charged in July for a courthouse encounter that angered a Supreme Court judge handling a novel lawsuit against D’Angelico’s company, Elite Model Management. Elite’s former sales director, Victoria Gallegos, sued Elite over what she described as persistent smoking in the agency’s offices. Gallegos said the smoke aggravated her asthma, caused chronic sinusitis and made her cough up blood. She worked at Elite for six weeks before being fired for complaining about the smoke, she alleged. D’Angelico, who was once an executive at Elite and still works there, was a named defendant in the suit, which sought $4.6 million. After the jury had found Elite liable and was deliberating over damages, D’Angelico allegedly saw one of the jurors, Barbara Yanoscik, in the women’s restroom and spoke with her about the case. Other jurors who have spoken to Yanoscik said that D’Angelico allegedly tried to disparage Gallegos. Yanoscik later told another juror, John D. Albright, about the encounter. Albright, who is an attorney, immediately informed the trial judge, Justice Louis B. York. York replaced Yanoscik and Albright with alternates and allowed deliberations to continue. The modified jury then returned a verdict of $5.2 million, more than Gallegos had sought. In dismissing the criminal charge against D’Angelico, Simpson did not cite the outcome of the civil suit as having any impact on her findings. Rather, she said, prosecutors had simply failed to offer enough details about the alleged conversation. “The court cannot simply presume that since a communication was allegedly had between the defendant and a juror that it was made with the intent to influence the outcome of the proceeding,” Simpson wrote. “Sufficient facts must be alleged for a reasonable inference of intent to be drawn.”

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