Federal Judge Orders Mistrial In the Pentagon Papers Case
A Los Angeles Federal court judge declared a mistrial yesterday and ordered that a new jury be selected in the Pentagon Papers trial of Daniel Ellsberg '52 and Anthony J. Russo.
The jury that was dismissed yesterday had been selected four months ago. The defense had sought a new jury, contending that the jurors had probably been prejudiced by events such as the recent presidential election and the course of the war in Vietnam.
Both defendants waived their right to protection against double jeopardy so that a new jury could be seated.
The jury had been inactive from the time of its selection until last November because of a series of procedural appeals by the defense which had delayed the start for the trial. Last month the jury reconvened after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a wiretapping appeal filed by lawyers for Ellsberg and Russo.
Ellsberg and Rumo are charged with conspiracy, espionage, and theft is connection with the publication in June 1971 of secret government documents tracing the origins of the war in Vietnam.
The Ninth District Court of Appeals in California issued a statement last Friday, in response to a motion by the defenses, saying it would be "foolish" to continue with the case because the jury had not yet heard any testimony.