U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth has arranged for two jurors to get legal help to ensure they are being compensated by their employers during the lengthy criminal trial of the Blackwater security guards accused of murdering Iraqi citizens during the war.  Four former Blackwater private security guards have been on trial since June 17th in the shootings of more than 30 Iraqi citizens in 2007.  Jury deliberations began on September 2nd and still continue.  Judge Lamberth said he had learned that one juror was being refused pay by her employer since the first two weeks of the trial.  The employer also implied he was going to cancel her insurance and give her a “lesser policy”.  Under federal law, it is illegal for employers to intimidate or coerce a permanent employee regarding their jury service.  Lamberth also said he learned that another juror, a Navy employee, was told he would not be paid by his employer during the trial.

“His immediate superior has been giving him a hard time about his continuing to be on leave…and has told him that he would not be paid for his service,” which is contrary to regulations of the Navy and of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the judge said.

Lamberth has appointed an attorney to take whatever legal actions necessary to protect the rights of the Blackwater jurors.

“To the extent that there are continued interference[s] now or threats now, then we’ll have to see what occurs,” said Lamberth, “I don’t propose to take any other action other than assuring the jurors’ rights are protected and giving them that peace of mind.”

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