As the government prepares to try two men accused of scheming to behead a U.S. judge and a prosecutor, it has requested an anonymous jury to address possible fears for safety and to shield jurors from intense media interest. It has requested the names, addresses and places of employment of jurors not be disclosed, that jurors be kept together during recesses, they be taken to lunch as a group and they be escorted to and from the courthouse each day.
"The defendants’ demonstrated willingness to retaliate against those involved in [Joseph] Romano’s conviction will undoubtedly prompt jurors to fear for their own safety in sitting in judgment of the defendants, absent anonymity and the other requested precautions," the prosecution argues in United States v. Romano, 12-cr-691.
The Feb. 19 motion arises from the November 2012 indictment against Joseph Romano and Dejvid Mirkovic on two counts of conspiracy to murder an employee of the United States in connection with a purported scheme to kill Eastern District Judge Joseph Bianco and Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Gatz. Romano was already incarcerated after pleading guilty before Bianco for his role in the bilking of coin collectors. Gatz led the prosecution (NYLJ, Nov. 9, 2012).
The case has been assigned to Southern District Judge John Keenan . The Eastern District U.S. Attorney’s Office has been recused except for assistant U.S. attorneys Marshall Miller and Una Dean, who will be supervised by Western District U.S. Attorney William Hochul Jr. Joseph F. Kilada of Carle Place is representing Romano and Susan Gail Kellman of Brooklyn is representing Mirkovic. Trial is scheduled to begin on May 20.