Tom Hanks jury case halted 'after prosecutor approached star'
A court case in which Tom Hanks was sitting as a juror came to a halt amid allegations of jury tampering after a "star-struck" prosecutor approached the Oscar-winning actor during a break in the hearing.
Mr Hanks, 57, had answered a routine call to perform jury service and was among 12 jurors trying a domestic violence case in Los Angeles.
The star of Forrest Gump, Apollo 13 and Saving Private Ryan, made every effort to remain low key, turning up to court dressed casually in jeans and a shirt.
He took notes assiduously, listened intently to the evidence, and spoke to other jurors, the entertainment website TMZ reported.
But during a break in proceedings a member of the Los Angeles city prosecutors' office reportedly approached him in a stairwell and thanked him for doing his duty, breaking rules on lawyers speaking to individual jurors outside the court room.
When the court hearing started again prosecutors disclosed the inappropriate contact to the judge, and defence lawyers accused the prosecution of misconduct. No fault was assigned to Mr Hanks.
Defence lawyer Andrew Flier told TMZ: "The assigned prosecutor on the case gave notice to the court and myself, which was his duty of course under the ethics rules, that he either saw or was told that one of his colleagues had the contact with Mr Hanks. It was a female prosecutor. It was not the assigned trial prosecutor."
He added: "She definitely should not have done what she did. Around noon time yesterday or the day before she made contact with Mr Hanks in the stairwell of the building. She came up to him and thanked him, and (said) how impressed everyone is that such a celebrity would still be here serving jury duty.
"So she, in essence, was being maybe a little star-struck and nice, but it's an absolute 100 per cent no-no and should never have happened."
The defendant had been charged with battering a woman in a case which could have led to a jail sentence if he was convicted.
In the wake of the prosecution misconduct lawyers on both sides began negotiating a plea deal, TMZ reported.
That led to the defendant pleading guilty to disturbing the peace and receiving a $150 (£95) fine.