Like everyone else, Tom Hanks has a civic responsibility to show up when called to jury duty. But this week, his presence as a juror in a domestic assault trial in Los Angeles had some unexpected consequences.
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According to CNN, as proceedings wrapped up on Tuesday, the case's prosecutor announced that another lawyer in the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office had approached Hanks outside the courtroom and thanked him for his service.
Defense attorney Andrew Flier jumped on that revelation and asked the court for a mistrial, saying there had been prosecutorial misconduct.
On Wednesday morning, the lawyers on both sides of the case decided to settle, offering the defendant a reduced charge of disturbing the peace and payment of a $150 fine.
Flier said he'd been initially concerned about having a two-time Oscar winner on the jury. “(B)ecause of his celebrity status and because of his personality, I think (the jury) would have followed him," he told CNN. But during the prospective juror questioning known as voir dire, Flier decided to give Hanks a chance on the jury.
"He never looked or made any statements like he wanted to get off jury duty," said Flier. "So based on everything, he seemed like a very fair juror."
Celebrities don't often serve as jurors; they tend to not be selected because they would draw attention away from the trial and, as happened with Hanks, they draw a crowd of gawkers and paparazzi outside the courthouse.
The City Attorney's Office spokesperson Frank Mateljan said that the city attorney would be "reviewing" the incident.