Well, Excuuuuuuuuuse Me

The Symington trial, as seen through the eyes of Mary Jane Cotey
Editor's note: New Times has obtained a diary kept by Mary Jane Cotey, the juror excused during Governor J. Fife Symington III's criminal trial. Cotey was excused August 19 after the judge determined she was unwilling or unable to deliberate. We believe her insider account of the trial is illuminating and practically beyond belief.

Tuesday, May 13
Dear Diary: Well, I went down to the federal building today and, guess what, I might get to be in the jury for Governor Symington's trial. I didn't even know he was in trouble. It was really good to see him again--he reminds me of my favorite actor, Van Johnson. But when I waved to him, he just sat there like a statue in a wax museum. Between you, me and the lamppost, Diary, I think he's in a lot of trouble. Everyone in the so-called jury pool seems to have made up their minds already. I had a BLT for lunch.

Wednesday, May 14
Dear Diary: Today I learned how to spell "quahog." To think I've been spelling it wrong all these years. A very prejudiced man took my seat after lunch. But it doesn't affect my brain, really. I had a corndog for lunch.

Thursday, May 14
Dear Diary: Finally, all that blah-blah-blah juror inquisition is over with. I don't see why we have to answer all those questions. I didn't even bother reading my forms; I just checked "no" to everything.

I can't believe they picked me for the jury. I guess I'm the token former Republican precinct committeewoman. But I'm objective, like my objective choice in 1994 to work for the governor's campaign. I got to go to the inauguration ball at the Princess. Broke my hip doing the jitterbug, though. They put a pin in it and that's why I always set off the metal detector in the courthouse lobby. Thank God there's another smoker on the jury.

As soon as I got home this afternoon, I found I had a new neighbor: a nice young man named Chuck has taken the apartment next door. He stopped by and talked about the trial, and he offered to check up on me regularly. Not many people have manners like that these days. Lunch? Actually, I don't recall, but I burped once and thought, "tuna fish."

Friday, May 14
Dear Diary: Here we go. I took my juror oath. I was right when I said the governor is in trouble. That young man from the prosecution seems to have his mind all made up about Fife. He's such a fancy boy, that Shingler or whatever. He talked all morning, accusing Fife of the most dastardly deeds. I can't believe he works for the US of A.

Fife's lawyer, John Doubt, talked a lot about some other things. He kept saying that the so-called crimes on Fife's financial statements were simply "Arizona missions." I had no idea the church was wrapped up in this. But you know Catholics.

I wonder if Doubt realizes you can see right up his nose. He has so much nose hair! I think I'll pass him a note. I'll also tell him that Jenny Craig is just a phone call away. He's what we used to call portly. Meatloaf.

Tuesday, May 20
Dear Diary: I read in my Tribune today that Mr. Doubt is really Mr. Dowd. Oopsy-daisy. Fife's secretary Joyce Reebok talked today. People like her always try to blame their boss. And what's wrong with having two sets of financial papers? Maybe it's not recommended, but they don't have to make a federal case out of it. (Ha, ha.)

All those crazy numbers and charts! You'd have to be some sort of bookkeeper to keep track! They have these TV sets but nothing's ever on but exhibits. Juror 79 tells me it's to help keep track of documents. Documents schmocuments.

They have these forms to fill out now so we can say what we want for lunch. I ordered Polish sausage and got a chimichanga. Maybe the cafeteria staff is Polish.

Wednesday, May 21
Dear Diary: I just couldn't take all that yakking today. I drifted off. I don't think the sketches they show on Channel 15 really do Fife's secretary any great service. They make her look heavy. Of course, she does wear too much makeup, and you know what they say about women who wear a lot of makeup around their bosses. It always leads to trouble for the boss. My smoking partner, Juror 96, doesn't seem to like me. We ride down the elevator to the basement to light up, and he hardly says a word. Stuffed peppers.

Thursday, May 22
Dear Diary: I took my TV remote to court today to see if I could catch up on "The Edge of Night." No luck. It seems Big Brother has control of the tellies. Just more documents with more numbers about Arizona missions.

I'm getting so I can pick out all the journalists. They have badges and notebooks and bad attitudes, especially that wildman who writes for News Times, Dogerty. He looks like he's full of liberal hate. Someone screwed up my lunch order again. I wanted lasagna and I got a patty melt. What should I expect from these federal bureaucrats?

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