The jury in Oliver North's trial resumed deliberating his fate Thursday on 12 criminal charges as it entered its sixth day plowing through 363 exhibits totaling some 1,300 pages.
The office of U.S. District Judge Gerhard A. Gesell said Wednesday that all of the jurors were bearing up well, following earlier health problems reported by several members.Since Monday, when juror Jean Johnson complained of high blood pressure problems, courthouse nurses have made regular visits to the jury. They also gave non-prescription medicines to two jurors who complained of chest colds.
The trial, almost 3 months old, produced 187 government and 176 defense exhibits that are in the courtroom with the jurors as they consider the charges.
North is accused of lying to Congress to cover up his role in secretly assisting the Nicaraguan Contras and lying to the attorney general about aspects of the diversion of funds to the Contras from the Iran arms sales. He also is accused of illegally converting traveler's checks from a Contra leader to his personal use, accepting a $13,800 home security system from Iran-Contra co-defendant Richard Secord and conspiring to defraud the Treasury.
On seven of those counts, if North is acquitted, the jury also must decide whether or not he is guilty of aiding and abetting in the activity, another felony.
Nine of the charges carry maximum penalties of five years in prison and fines of $250,000 each.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department is seeking a federal appeals court order that Gesell conduct a further hearing on a motion by The Associated Press and nine other news organizations to inspect a sealed trial exhibit.
The exhibit is a stipulation summarizing top secret intercepts by the National Security Agency concerning a November 1985 CIA-assisted shipment of Hawk missiles to Iran. North's lawyers used the stipulation in an attempt to show the jury that top Reagan administration officials knew at the time of the plane's cargo.