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Twitter ruins everything. Judging from recent headlines, it seems like elected officials are having the hardest time getting a handle on the micro-blogging service — one representative tweeted about a secret trip to Iraq, while another tweet may have ruined party defection plans in the Virginia State Senate. Now another set of tweets may be threatening a $12.6 million verdict in Arkansas.
The messages in question came from Johnathan Powell, who sat as a juror in a lawsuit against building materials company Stoam Holdings. The jury found against Stoam and awarded the money to two men who invested in the company. But Stoam is appealing the decision, saying that Powell’s Twitter messages, sent from his mobile phone during and after the trial, showed he was biased against the firm. Those tweets included advice against investing in Stoam because “they’ll probably cease to exist, now that their wallet is 12m lighter,” and another declaring:
“So, Johnathan, what did you do today?” Oh, nothing really. I just gave away TWELVE MILLION DOLLARS of somebody else’s money!
So will this actually threaten the verdict? Using the internet to make fun of a defendant certainly doesn’t say much for your objectivity, but Greg Brown, an attorney representing one of the plaintiffs, told the Associated Press that it’s not enough to change the ruling. For the appeal to work, Stoam’s attorneys would have to prove that outside information entered the jury room and corrupted the verdict, he said.
The other fun thing about this story: Now that it’s catching on with the media, you can read Powell’s response to his 15 minutes of fame on his Twitter account.
You can find me on Twitter here along with fellow VentureBeatniks Eric Eldon, Dean Takahashi, MG Siegler, Camille Ricketts, Dan Kaplan and Matt Marshall. We have a VentureBeat account (for our posts) as well.
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