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The lone black juror who also served as foreman during the Michael Slager trial had a pending felony charge against him that was mysteriously dropped by prosecutors during the Slager trial.
Dorsey Montgomery, 34, was indicted last year on the charge of breach of trust with fraudulent intent, which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison, the Post and Courier reports. Assistant Solicitor Ted Corvey dropped the charge on Nov. 17 “per statute.” No further reasoning was given for the charge being dropped.
As previously reported on The Root, Michael Slager, 35, was charged with and stood trial for the murder of 50-year-old Walter Scott, whom Slager shot in the back as Scott was fleeing on foot from a traffic stop in North Charleston, S.C. A jury of 11 whites and one black was unable to agree on a verdict in the trial, with reports saying that one juror was the holdout. A mistrial was eventually declared, with the prosecution promising to try Slager again for Scott’s murder.
According to the Post and Courier, it is unknown whether the breach-of-trust charge was discussed during jury selection, but none of the lawyers involved in the case objected to Montgomery serving. Montgomery was also the only juror who said he had not known about the case or watched an eyewitness video that showed Slager shooting Scott in the back as he ran.
Slager’s defense attorney, Andy Savage, told the Post and Courier that he knew about Montgomery’s past, but he did not opt to exclude him from the jury panel. He acknowledged that in the case of a conviction, the limited questioning of prospective jurors’ history would have been grounds for an appeal.
The charges against Montgomery were dropped three weeks into the trial, on the same day he was appointed jury foreman. Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson told the Post and Courier that the charges were dropped without her knowledge.
“I was not aware that his charges were resolved in the midst of trial,” Wilson said, “or what the circumstances were surrounding their resolution.”
In a brief phone interview with the Post and Courier, Montgomery said, “I’m a big boy. Whatever transpired transpired. What happened happened. Whatever was done was done.”
Both Montgomery and his defense attorney, Allen Mastantuno, declined to give further comment.
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