A mistrial will be declared in the federal racketeering case involving three members of the Gypsy Joker Outlaw Motorcycle Club after the judge contracted COVID-19, according to lawyers involved.
The trial was set to start Friday with opening statements before a 12-member jury and four alternates.
Jury selection had gone forward Monday after U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman tested negative twice, the lawyers said. He got tested Sunday and Monday after his wife contracted the virus.
About 80 prospective jurors filtered into Mosman’s 16th floor courtroom at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse downtown for the selection process. Five panels of 16 prospective jurors sat in the jury box and were questioned at a time.
About a dozen lawyers and staff were in the courtroom along with the judge, who sat on the bench behind a clear Plexiglass partition. He stepped away from the bench to consult quietly with lawyers in the case about 10 times, lawyers said.
All in the courtroom wore masks, including the judge, who is fully vaccinated.
The court recessed at the end of the day Monday. For an extra precaution, the judge delayed opening statements until Friday.
Lawyers involved in the case received word Wednesday from court officials of their potential exposure and the canceling of the trial.
They said a mistrial is necessary because testimony cannot be completed before Thanksgiving and it would be too difficult to make the jury wait that long.