Two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks, known for his roles in Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, The Green Mile, Toy Story franchise, and the Da Vinci Code, played a real-life role in a surprise plea deal end to a domestic assault case in LA. Hanks was a juror on the trial of Andrew Flier’s client. The defendant was facing a maximum of one year in jail if convicted. As the defense prepared for closing arguments yesterday, the prosecutor revealed to the court that another prosecutor had talked to Tom Hanks outside the courtroom to thank him for serving on the case. Interactions with jurors outside of the testimony and evidence can result in a prejudicial verdict. The defense immediately made a motion for mistrial based upon, not juror misconduct, but prosecutorial misconduct.
Instead, a hearing was held in which both sides had agreed to a reduced charge plea deal. The defendant pled no contest to disturbing the peace and was assessed a $150 fine.
City Attorney’s Office spokesperson Frank Mateljan confirmed the interaction with Hanks, saying, “The city attorney has been apprised of the situation and will be reviewing it.”
A female prosecutor approached Hanks in a stairwell during a lunch break.
“She was just being maybe a little star struck and nice, but…it’s an absolute 100 percent no-no, and it should never have happened,” Flier told TMZ.
Flier said he was concerned about having a Hollywood star on the jury. He thought it could unfairly influence the final decision, “I think because of his celebrity status and because of his personality, I think (the jury) would have followed him.” But, Flier said after voir dire, he thought Hanks seemed like a “very fair juror.” Flier has no idea how Tom Hanks would have voted in the jury room. He said that Hanks looked at him and said, “I was going to vote the way of justice.” Hanks never disclosed whether he thought justice was a guilty or not guilty verdict.