Juror Pleads Guilty in Tampering Case

A federal juror removed for suspected tampering with deliberations just hours before Los Angeles businessman Michael R. Goland was convicted last May of making an illegal political donation pleaded guilty Wednesday to one felony count of criminal contempt of court.

Barry Kuhnke, 33, of Huntington Beach, a U.S. Defense Department employee, told U.S. District Judge Edward Rafeedie that he had approached Goland and offered to fix the case because he felt Goland was being unfairly prosecuted. Goland reported the offer to his attorney, who notified U.S. District Judge Dickran Tevrizian. Tevrizian removed Kuhnke from the jury the next day.

In exchange for Kuhnke’s guilty plea, prosecutors have agreed to drop a second felony count of obstruction of justice. Rafeedie set sentencing for Oct. 4. Federal statutes set no limits for either a fine or jail time for criminal contempt, although the judge cannot sentence Kuhnke to both a fine and jail.