Jurors in the trial of a Mexican actress accused of getting married for immigration purposes reported that one member of the panel appeared to be holding out, perhaps irrationally. The federal judge in the case, however, told jurors to continue deliberating Friday morning in an attempt to find closure in the trial.
Fernanda Romero, a 28-year-old actress who's based in Westwood, is accused of marrying Park La Brea resident Kent Ross for the sole purpose of becoming a legal U.S. immigrant.
The saga of the 2005 marriage came to light after fashion photographer Markus Klinko, apparently a jilted ex-boyfriend, made the sham-marriage allegation in an unrelated lawsuit.
According to CNN and Gawker, that filing also alleged that Rock & Republic jeans founder Michael Ball, said to be Romero's onetime fiance, helped arrange the sham marriage while Romero was a model for the line. The suit was an attempt to get cash that Klinko said Ball owed him for a Rock & Republic photo shoot.
Federal authorities argue that Romero and Ross never lived together and that she paid him $5,000 to agree to the union. Romero denies the charges, and a defense attorney said the pair was in love when they wed.
After being questioned by U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real, nearly all of the jurors pointed to another panelist as a holdout, with one saying the juror has a “hostile attitude” and another saying the possibility of a verdict was “non-existent” because of the
Romero has appeared alongside Jessica Alba in 2008's The Eye and she has been an on-and-off presence on Mexican television.