A sick juror is to thank for a Manhattan judge’s decision to declare Ashanti‘s “stalker court case” a mistrial this month, disrupting the entire case when it emerged their illness would interrupt deliberations for more than 24 hours.
Details on Ms. Douglas’ bad news, below…
‘The New York Times‘ reports:
Justice Daniel Conviser of State Supreme Court in Manhattan said state law mandated that a mistrial be declared under such a disruption, unless there was a weekend or holiday. He said that the statute needed to be reformed but that his hands were tied.
“As much as I don’t like the result here, and I think it’s a wrong result, I have to follow the law,” Justice Conviser said. “It’s up to the Legislature to change the law.”
This is the second time Mr. Hurd has been accused of stalking the singer. In 2009, he was convicted of sending lewd messages about his sexual fantasies involving Ashanti to the singer’s mother, Tina Douglas, who is also her manager.
Prosecutors say he later flouted a court order not to have contact with the singer, sending her hundreds of messages via Twitter and approaching her sister at charity events.
Summing up the prosecution’s case, Rachel Ehrhardt, an assistant district attorney, suggested Mr. Hurd had purposely disregarded a judge’s order not to contact the singer or her family just for a chance to confront her in court.
“He knew exactly what he was doing,” Ms. Ehrhardt said. “He was positively gleeful to sit no more than 10 feet from Ashanti, taking his time, talking to her, questioning her, keeping her on the stand, knowing this was the only way he was going to be able to talk to her.”
For his part, Mr. Hurd never disputed he had sent Ashanti about 600 Twitter messages using two aliases, nor did he dispute that he had approached her sister, Kenashia Douglas, at two charity events, trying to befriend her by helping to carry equipment.
But he told jurors he never intended to harm either woman, and he believed his messages would be lost in the welter of messages from 1.7 million other fans who follow Ashanti on Twitter.
“It’s established that I did have contact,” he said to the jury, sticking close to the language in the statute. “There was never any evidence that I intended to harass, annoy or alarm, nothing to show that I had intent to unlawfully imprison, rape, kidnap or kill her.”
In her statement, Ms. Ehrhardt noted that Mr. Hurd had been persistent in trying to make contact with Ashanti. The messages started in July 2012 shortly after Mr. Hurd finished serving a two-year prison term for stalking. “He was relentless,” she said. “He was hounding this family.”
Evidence at the first trial showed that Mr. Hurd had sent Ashanti’s mother lewd texts about his sexual fantasies about the singer, as well as pictures of his genitals. As part of the sentence, a judge ordered him to have no contact with Ashanti or her family for 10 years.
The news comes after the singer’s alleged stalker came face to face with the singer’s mother in court earlier this month, posing questions to her as he represented himself in the long-running case.
Read more on that, here.