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Mistrial declared in war protester's case; Juror passed sealed note to judge seeking leniency for sibling in another trial

A mistrial was declared Thursday in the Buffalo City Court trial of a war protester because of something a juror did.

City Judge Joseph A. Fiorella declared the mistrial shortly after jurors began a second day of deliberations in the case of Nate Buckley, 27, of Buffalo, who was charged with misdemeanor counts of trespass, obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest after he scuffled with transit police outside M&T Bank on Fountain Plaza in April 2011.

The reason for the mistrial had nothing to do with the case at hand.

According to Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III, one of the jurors passed a note in a sealed envelope for the judge, seeking leniency for a sibling whose drunken driving case is before Fiorella.

"It was disturbing," said Sedita, who noted that the juror gave no indication of that pending case during the jury selection process.

After the note was revealed to the prosecutor and defense attorney, both requested a mistrial, Sedita said.

The six-member jury had begun deliberations at about 10 a.m. Wednesday and was dismissed for the day at about 5 p.m.

Buckley will be retried, the district attorney said.

Meanwhile, the judge will issue verdicts for Buckley's co-defendants, Jason A. Wilson and Elliot Zyglis, who were charged with violation counts of trespass.

Testimony in the trial, which began June 7, focused largely on the actions of Buckley. Both the prosecution and defense cases relied heavily on videos that were recorded at the April 8, 2011, protest.