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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Member of Mock Jury Says Former Rep. Scott Muschany Should Get off "Scott"-Free

Posted By on Tue, Mar 17, 2009 at 12:45 PM

  • Missouri General Assembly
Jury selection begins tomorrow in State of Missouri v. Scott Muschany, the former state legislator (R-Frontenac) who is accused of deviate sexual assault of a teenage girl, a felony, and sexual misconduct in the second degree, a misdemeanor.

As the Post-Dispatch's Tony Messenger reported last year, Muschany is accused of assaulting the fourteen-year-old daughter of his then-mistress, a state employee, on May 17 last year, the day after the state legislature's session ended. Wrote Messenger:

"The girl's 17-year-old brother told the Post-Dispatch his mother told him she has known Muschany for about two years and that they had been seeing each other romantically for about a year. The woman is a former House employee who now works in a different department in state government."
Prosecutors recently added the misdemeanor charge.

A man who sat on a confidential jury panel convened by Muschany's defense attorney predicts Muschany will -- and should -- get off "Scott"-free.

Tim Phillips, of Manchester, told me yesterday that he made $175 for a day's work sitting on a mock jury convened at Delve, a market research firm in Maryland Heights, earlier this year. And that his jury -- one of two he says were convened that day -- decided within five minutes to acquit Muschany.

"Black, white, old, young, Democrat, Republican, male, female -- we all acquitted. It was obvious to us that the girl's dad made up this story because he didn't want to pay child support (to the girl's mother), and that the girl's mom was a complete gold-digging piece of crap. [We thought the dad] coached his daughter on what to say, and they went to (Missouri Department of) Social Services and lied. Why Social Services ran with it, who knows."

Phillips says the mock jury got to review a videotaped statement Muschany gave to police, apparently without a lawyer present, and other testimony. "He came across as truthful but stupid. He cheated on his wife. He's an idiot. He's not fit to represent people in the legislature. But he's not a child molester."

Muschany's attorney, Robert Haar, declined to comment on the mock jury proceedings, a common practice in criminal cases, noting that all participants signed non-disclosure agreements.

Phillips says he decided to renege on the agreement he signed because he's angry about taxpayer dollars being spent on what he calls "ridiculous" charges.

Phillips also says he has placed calls to numerous legislators, state and local, and tried to reach Muschany himself through his company, Trileaf Corporation, pledging his support to the former legislator. (Muschany did not run for re-election last fall.)

Did Phillips hear back from Muschany?

No. But he says he did get a ring yesterday morning from one of Muschany's assistants. "She said she was happy to hear what I had to say, because people know he's not the kind of guy who would do something like this."

The trial in Judge Richard Callahan's Cole County Circuit Court is supposed to last several days, so I imagine we'll be seeing some daily or weekend coverage from the Post's Tony Messenger very soon. What I'm curious about is this: How will the real jury's deliberation compare to the estimated five minutes Phillips' mock panel spent on it? 

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