Transcript: Tyco Juror No. 4

<B>Dan Rather's</B> Interview With Ruth Jordan

Ruth Jordan, the juror at the center of controversy in the mistrial of two former top executives of Tyco, talked to 60 Minutes II in her first television interview on April 7, 2004. Read a complete transcript of the interview.
DAN RATHER: Tell me in brief, or whatever length you like, who you are and what you are.

RUTH JORDAN: I'm Ruth Jordan. And I live in New York. I consider myself a New Yorker. I wasn't born here. I was raised in Illinois, came to New York in my 20s. I got a job originally working with the United World Federalist. Because I was very inspired with the idea that we could have one world with everybody working together as all citizens of one world. It was a court myer (PH) organization. After awhile, I met my husband.

I got married. I started a home with him. And presently, I have two children. And my main job really, for many, many years, was parenting. I loved having children. I think I did a pretty good job.

They're perfectly neat, lovely nice people now, two of the nicest persons I know. My marriage didn't work out. But one of the things I'm very proud of is that when-- as that marriage was separating, I never did anything to give my burdens to the children. So, they have a wonderful relationship with their father. I always felt that it was, it's not anything that was, didn't work with us is not their fault.

And-- they shouldn't be burdened with it. And so, I think that's pretty clear. I think I did pretty well on that one. And-- so, they just see them now. They have good, loving relationship with them and with me. And I do speak to my former husband. I like his present wife very much. I have many times called her up and said-- "You know, I need something to get done. Can you help him do this for them?" And we get along just great.

And that makes me happy. Because I think that's the way it ought to be. I feel very strongly that people are trying hard to do the best that they can do. And if they don't make it all the time, that's because they're human beings. So, what else? I mean, what else can you expect?

RATHER: Are you a college graduate?

JORDAN: Yes.

RATHER: Where did you go to undergraduate?

JORDAN:I went to Sarah Lawrence college outside of New York and that probably is what really began to make me want to be a New Yorker and move-- I did move to New York right after college.

RATHER: I know this is a-- sorry. I know this is a delicate question. And I want to ask it delicately. But you were born when?

JORDAN: 1924, on September 11th, 1924. That's my birthday.

RATHER:So you are a Midwesterner by birth?

JORDAN: Yes.

RATHER: A New Yorker by choice?

JORDAN: Yes.

RATHER: You're a mother?

JORDAN: Yes.

RATHER: A grandmother?

JORDAN:Yes.

RATHER: And you're divorced?

JORDAN: Mm-hm (AFFIRM).

RATHER: After your divorce, you became a lawyer. How did that happen?

JORDAN: Well, there was a period before that, after I was divorced. I taught school for about seven or eight years. And I chose to do that, because my children then were in upper-middle-school grades and-- high school, and I decided that I could enhance my income and be useful in the world, as well as being a parent in a job that blended with their school hours and their school vacations, so that I could still be for-- there for them, and also-- do something of my own. And I liked teaching.

I think I got to be pretty good at it. I don't think I was a good teacher to start with, because I had too-high expectations. But I learned to come to where the children were. And-- and they really liked me. Because then when I—well, I think I'm a beneficiary of the women's liberation movement. Because it gave me the realization, you know, you can do some of these things that you've always thought were unattainable.

And I realized that my friends were lawyers. My boyfriends were lawyers. I married a lawyer. And I suddenly thought, "Oh. I am trying to be a lawyer vicariously." And when I decided that the women's liberation helped me, was because I began to think, "Do it yourself. You can be a lawyer too."

RATHER: You were divorced and teaching school at that time?

JORDAN: Right.

RATHER: What were you teaching?

JORDAN: History.

RATHER: And roughly what grades?

JORDAN: Six, seventh, and eighth grade. And I taught Asian studies and medieval history. That was one of my very favorites. That was the sixth graders.

RATHER: So, you were divorced. And after you divorced, you began teaching school?

JORDAN: Right.

RATHER: And you taught school for about how long?

JORDAN: About eight years.

RATHER: And then you began thinking about law school?

JORDAN: And then I began thinking about law school … Well, I decided I would apply. Because it occurred to me that maybe I could be a lawyer in my own right. And-- I didn't really have-- I thought maybe, if I apply, I would pass the LSAT, but I did.

And I did pretty well. I applied to three law schools in New York City thinking that maybe none-- none will take me. Two of them did turn me down, but one of them did accept me. And I went to New York Law School. And I loved it. It was very long hours of study. But I loved every bit of it. And I did graduate, got a degree.

RATHER: And did you pass the bar?

JORDAN: And I passed the bar. And then I was interviewed by the bar association committee. I had to have letters of recommendation and meet some of the prominent lawyers in New York to-- it's a character assessment-- interview. And I was accepted.

RATHER: So, you became a full-fledged lawyer in your middle 50s?

JORDAN: Yes. (CHUCKLES)

RATHER: Did you work as an attorney?

JORDAN: Yes. It was quite hard to get a job. Because there are not very many applicants that are-- when you're in your 50s, it's a little bit difficult.

There's too much competition from younger people. But I did get a job. And I worked for a couple of years. And I think that I really helped some clients.

RATHER: In what kind of law firm were you working?

JORDAN: Well, I worked briefly for, well, briefly both of them, but Rogers & Wells (PH) was one. And I worked with one of the partners there. And then I also worked in a smaller law firm which was Hall, McNichol, Ambleton (PH), and Clark (PH).

RATHER: And what kind of law did you practice?

JORDAN: It was estates and trust (PH). And-- I really think I did some good for some of those clients.

RATHER: And so, you were a lawyer for what, three or four years?

JORDAN: Just three or four years. Then-- I liked doing that. But I found that I came to the belief that some of the emotions that are-- that come up among-- heirs were-- they had conflicts about what bequests are.

And I tried to be helpful to it. But I thought it was something, it's, I didn't find, I wasn't comfortable with that kind of struggling over property.

RATHER: So, you practiced law until you were in your early 60s, or not quite?

JORDAN: Yes. (LAUGHS)

RATHER: In your early 60s, you retire from being a practicing attorney? And then what did you begin doing with your life?

JORDAN: Well-- I moved from-- one-- my apartment in New York, out to Long Island. I had gone out there (UNINTEL) summers and come out with my children.

I used to babysit houses. I'd take care of other people's houses. And when they went away on vacation, I took care of the dogs and the shrubbery and kept the burglars away because there were lights and there were traffic and cars coming and going. But that gave me the opportunity to have my children have a country experience in the summer for a month or so, or whatever. And-- but I love it.

And so, after I moved out for-- to live in the country for two years, because I thought, "Maybe I'll like it all year round," because I got room (PH) from my former apartment where I'd raised the children. And-- then-- I loved the country in the summer. But I didn't like it (LAUGHS) in the winter.

RATHER: So, you moved back into the city? Did you start painting at that time?

JORDAN: I've always done some painting. It's watercolors. And it's just a hobby. I don't ever try to paint professionally.

RATHER: Because you're quite good at it, the ones I've seen, and your paintings of birds. You have a special interest in birds?

JORDAN: Yes, I do. I've been a bird watcher. I'm not a real bird-- I have some friends now who really go on bird hiking trips. And they get up at dawn and look at the birds on the-- Central Park, especially the migration times. And I haven't done that.

But I can identify quite a lot, even a few --which is-- that's the big-- that's the big achievement, I think, of my bird watch-- as well as some other. But I can do-- and I can also tell quite a few birdcalls. I'm also a tree watcher. And now, I'm able to identify trees even when the leaves are not on them. Because I don't realize that a tree in the winter, even when it's just the skeleton, has a very distinctive shape.

And you can tell a lot which it is. And I used to laugh at myself. I still do. Because I'd learned to tell a red oak and a white oak, and a (UNINTEL) oak and a scarlet oak and a black oak and a pin (PH) oak and a post (PH) oak. I mean, they're always (UNINTEL) and I thought, just wait until my children ask me, and I will say, "That's a post oak." And that-- and nobody asked me. So, I got a lot of useful knowledge.

RATHER:Now, over these years, you had received jury summons, surely. But before you went on this jury, the Tyco jury, had you ever served on a jury?

JORDAN: No

RATHER: Had you ever even come close to being selected?

JORDAN: No, I don't really think so. Early, early when I was receiving summonses, I was so busy at home with the children that I asked to be excused, because I was the only caretaker.

We didn't have a-- I didn't have a nanny. I was a hands-on mom. But later on, after I'd gone to law school, I thought yes, I would like to do this. And I answered the summer one out in Nassau County, and at least two here in New York.

RATHER: But you were never selected—

JORDAN: But I was never selected.

RATHER: Before you went on this jury, the Tyco jury, had you ever served on a jury?

JORDAN: No.

RATHER: Were you surprised when you were selected as a juror for the Tyco case?

JORDAN: Yes. While I was responding to this summons, I took the subway down to the-- civic court area. And then I walked from the subway station in front of City Hall, down over to where the court was. And as I did, I went past the federal court. And there were a lot of news people out there with cameras.

And I turned to somebody and said, "What's going on?" And somebody said, "Oh, that's Kozlowski." But I didn't-- I had never heard his name. So, I didn't know about that.

RATHER: Did you know anything about the Tyco case at all?

JORDAN: Nope, nope. I didn't know any-- I may have heard the name Tyco in a newspaper. But it meant nothing to me. I didn't know what they did or who they were. I didn't know the names of the defendants at all. They were, I didn't -- ever had known them.

I did know about Enron. And it, something about this made me know, "Oh, that case is one of the big cases. Because look at all of the news media."

RATHER: In your head you were connecting it, at least loosely, with Enron?

JORDAN: I knew it was a big case. I mean, I didn't know. I deduced that it was a big case, because of all the news media attention. And I had heard that there was Enron, and there's a couple of others, which I'm not quite sure, I don't remember.

But there were a couple-- I knew that-- the big corporate-- I know they were being investigated, and that there was wrongdoing. I knew that. And I knew something about the Enron case.

RATHER: So, when you got in and you were being questioned as a prospective juror, did you begin to sense then, or know then, what the case was?

JORDAN: Not really. Well, a little. I didn't know anything about what had happened. What I knew is this is one of those big corporations cases that are trying to, the executives have done something that's caused them to be indicted. I was in the criminal court. So, I mean, I knew that would--

RATHER: Say this is a big case. I don't know much about it, but it's a big case?

JORDAN: Yeah, yeah.

RATHER: Now, when you were selected, you said you were surprised?

JORDAN: Right.

RATHER: Tell me what you felt when you were announced as Juror No. 4.

JORDAN: I thought well, I don't believe this. I never win anything. I don't think I've won anything at all. And this was sort of like winning a privilege, winning something that was going to be an opportunity to make a mark, to help, to do something, you know, to have an effect. And I thought, it's a great privilege. And I was just startled that I would receive that.

RATHER:You said you viewed it as a great privilege?

JORDAN: Mm-hm (AFFIRM).

RATHER: Tell me about your approach to jury service.

JORDAN: I am absolutely honored to have been given an opportunity. I felt it from the very beginning, to be given an opportunity to play-- my small one-twelfth part in making a momentous decision over the lives of somebody else.

And I don't (UNINTEL PHRASE). It was just a very special, precious thing that I had been given an opportunity to do in a small way. I mean, I don't think I had more than my one little part of it. But I was definitely honored and thought, I am going to have a chance to express my principles in the way of looking at the evidence and trying to come to a verdict on the basis of the evidence and the law and what I hear, and contribute to a just decision. And--

RATHER:Were you open-minded? Looking back on it, and be candid. It's always hard to judge oneself. … Were you completely, totally, absolutely open-minded going into it?

JORDAN: Yes. I was. I think I was. I have to honestly say that I looked at the defendants the first time. And I thought for one, I was a little tiny bit scared of Mr. Kozlowski, 'cause I thought, "My goodness, you know, he--" I think that actually he was upset that it he, to me, he looked like he was in a very difficult situation. And I could see that.

And, but I didn't know what they had done. The only thing is, I am aware that there is a presumption of innocence. And-- I do feel that that's something that has to be honored. And--

RATHER: Did you listen carefully, closely, to the judge's instructions that he gave you as a juror?

JORDAN: Absolutely. Every day, he asked us to keep an open mind, not discuss the case -- not talk among each other, not talk with the participants, to try to remember the case has to be decided only on the evidence and on the law. And a little bit more, I guess. But anyway yes, I did listen to it. And I revere this judge so much. I think he has done an absolutely wonderful, wonderful job.

RATHER: That's a powerful word, revered. You say you revered this judge so much. Why?

JORDAN: Because as (CLEARS THROAT) the case went on, I thought that he was absolutely fair. He wasn't unbiased at all (PH). He, whenever he -- there was an objection that he either said "sustained" or "overruled," he was so sure in his understanding of what should be said, and in addressing the objections.

He was, and I've never had any sense that he was ruling in favor of one or the other. They were, it was always what was-- would help to advance the case. Many times, even the prosecutor would have difficulty articulating his question. And the judge would say, "Well, it seems to me, Mr. District Attorney," whichever one it was, that this is what you're trying to say. And the judge would rephrase the question, and so that the questioner, sometimes it was the defense attorney and sometimes the prosecutor, would say, "Yes. That's what I meant to say."

There was one occasion that really impressed me, when the, it was one of the prosecutors, got quite tangled up in what he was saying. And it went on for quite a little while.

And he was trying to get it-- his question asked. And I would like to, later on, tell you something I think about prosecuting white-collar crime. But that judge in-- it had taken the D.A.-- the assistant D.A.-- a good minute, at least, I mean, it's a long time, to try to get his question out. And then in, like, four succinct sentences, the judge summed up the whole thing and said, "Is that it?" And he said yes.

RATHER: So, you revered this judge?

JORDAN: Oh. I think he is wonderful judge. I'd like to say anything, something about the whole trial and the management of it (UNINTEL) that's alright with you, you know.

RATHER:Absolutely.

JORDAN: I think that he did the best job that any judge could do. This case was so long and so complex. And it was loaded with so much heavy baggage of unnecessary-- well, maybe it was necessary.

But it was endless, endless piles of evidence that I think just drowned the jurors. And it-- in thinking about the whole thing, it seemed to me as if it was like-- you could almost use the metaphor, I used the metaphor, it was as if there was a chariot, that the whole case was some chariot.

And it had 12 independent horses all going in their own different ways, searching and trying to go what earnestly, some strong, some weak, some high, some low, whatever. But they were all driving themselves way, and on either side was the baggage (PH) of all of the defense and all of the prosecution.

And the judge was trying to keep his vehicle on the road. And I don't think anybody could ever have done better than this judge did. Because it was so pressured and so there were so many things loaded into it, that in my own opinion, I don't see how it would ever have gotten to a good resolution.

And it was a-- if-- it-- it was have-- obviously having a whole lotta trouble doing it. But I think that judge kept a hand on this, as well as anybody ever could. And--

RATHER: When you were, when the trial started, how long did you think it would last? Or did the judge--

JORDAN: The judge told us right at the very beginning, right after we had been in the voir dire. And we were sitting in the jury box. And just before we were finally selected, he started -- he did, first of all, say, "This case is the Tyco case against corporate white-collar crime." And these are the two defendants. And he pointed out Mark and Dennis. And we all craned our necks.

And he said, "And I need to tell you that the case may last two or three months." And everybody in the room gasped.

RATHER: Including yourself?

JORDAN: Including myself. But in the audience, everywhere. You could hear this very audible gasp. And he did give those who had an opportunity to leave, he said, "This is-- if you think you cannot-- that it's gonna be very difficult for you, or cause some kind of hardship, it's gonna be impossible, you can-- ask to be excused."

And as I understood it, that didn't mean that they would be excused. But they could explain why they thought they wouldn't be able to-- show for two or three months.

RATHER:: The judge himself expected it to go two to three months. It went six months?

JORDAN: Yes.

RATHER: Now, I recognize that it might be difficult to answer this question with the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. But were you able to stay awake and stay concentrated on what was happening every minute of that whole six months?

JORDAN: I was. And I think a lot of the others were. But I know that I was. Because I like the law. And this is all about the law. And I found a lot of it fascinating in the-- in the fine points you have to look at.

Because the heart of this case, to my view, was about-- it was about finding the-- was the-- could they establish that the defendant intended to commit this crime? Intent, intent was the-- center of the whole case, at least for me.

And- that's- in a way, it's rather elusive. Because you can, and it did happen, that were-- many actions that were taken-- had taken place that the defendants intended. But they didn't intend to do-- commit a crime. They intended to build that company from a $3 billion company to a $36 billion company. They did a lot of very good things.

And whenever I think about trying to-- acquire and merge two giant corporations, the kind of work required to join huge divisions at work with hundreds and hundreds of workers and all duplication of a-- of the jobs, and having to eliminate some, and to dovetail around-- make them go together and-- take care of all the financial aspects of the holding, it's just mind boggling to me.

RATHER: Would you agree or disagree, Mrs. Jordan, that one could be very successful in running a business, do many good things in running the business, but if, along the way, you committed crimes, that you should be indicted, convicted, and punished for those crimes?

JORDAN: Absolutely. If you are-- had been convicted. And that's what we were about. And-- it-- there were a number of things that come into the trial and did come into this one, that interfered with that process.

I think if I understand my fellow jurors when we saw the very famous film of the-- Sardinia party, and later on the Fifth Avenue apartment that was so--

RATHER: That would be the $2 million-plus Sardinia party?

JORDAN: Right.

RATHER: And the $18 million-way-plus apartment?

JORDAN: Right.

RATHER: So, when you saw those?

JORDAN: My feeling was-- I was repelled by the district attorney's bringing it on. And I heard other jurors say they were insulted, so insulted that that would be put there before them at the intention that perhaps the jurors would be so stupid that they would be swayed by that and-- "Well, if they do that, then they must be guilty." And they really were insulted-- that. I--



Part II: Interview With Tyco Juror Ruth Jordan





  • Rebecca Leung

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