A dismissed juror in the cocaine trafficking trial of former Ram cornerback Darryl Henley pleaded not guilty in federal court in Santa Ana on Monday to charges that he tried to pay a $50,000 bribe to another juror to secure a not-guilty verdict in the case.
The dismissed juror, Michael D. Malachowski of San Bernardino, faces two counts of jury tampering and obstruction of justice.
Henley and four other men were convicted in March of running a cocaine trafficking ring that stretched from Orange County to Memphis and Atlanta.
Malachowski, who was a juror for three weeks before being dismissed, was expected to be a key witness for Henley defense lawyers asking U.S. District Court Judge Gary L. Taylor for a new trial.
The defense attorneys claim that another juror, Bryan Quihuis, told Malachowski that he would be willing to vote for the defendants' acquittals in exchange for a $50,000 bribe.
But in court papers, FBI Special Agent James Blanchard said Malachowski has admitted lying when he previously stated that Quihuis offered to "throw the case" if Henley and co-defendant Rex Henley, the football player's uncle, paid him $50,000.