The two sides in County Commissioner Jerry Eversole’s trial are planning for the sequel.
The biggest help to each side, seasoned trial lawyers said, are the jurors who sat through three weeks of testimony.
“I relied a lot on input from the jury,” former Harris County District Attorney Johnny Holmes said of his “few” hung juries. “That is really helpful because you could see whether you had particular personalities that caused the problem or whether evidence caused the problem.”
Jury foreman John Hopkins said the jury’s first vote, four days before a mistrial was declared, had four jurors solidly voting guilty.
Hopkins said he was “shocked” when Hardin rested without putting on a single witness, a scenario that is unlikely to happen again.
“Ultimately, I don’t think you’ll see the case presented that much differently from the government’s side,” said Geoffrey Corn, a professor at South Texas College of Law. “But from the defense, you might actually see a defense this time.”
Other lawyers agreed that Eversole’s defense team would probably present a case in the retrial.
“It was pretty gutsy for Rusty to rest right behind the government, but he can’t do that again,” said defense attorney Kent Schaffer. “You’ve got to revamp your case, because I guarantee they are revamping theirs.”
Will he put Eversole on the stand? That’s what everyone will be wondering. No word yet on when Eversole 2.0 will debut – there will be a conference “in the coming weeks” to decide when to go at it again. I’ll say this much, I do not expect this to be resolved by a plea bargain, so another trial will be on its way. On a related note, Rick Casey points out that with a slight alteration of the jury, Eversole might have gotten a stronger result. There’s a lot for each side to think about and plan for as they go forward, that’s for sure.