Filmmaker Billy Corben's Tweets, Facebook Messages Spur Florida City Man To Request New Trial

A judge will take up the motion Tuesday morning, The Miami Herald reports

A Florida City man is asking a Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge to throw out his conviction for armed robbery because local filmmaker Billy Corben tweeted and posted on Facebook about his experiences in court while serving as the trial’s jury foreman, The Miami Herald reported.

Corben tweeted about the aging courthouse’s one working elevator, its cafeteria lunch special – sautéed bistec with white rice and red beans – and joked that he would hire defense attorney David O. Markus if he were held in contempt of court, according to the newspaper.

“Live-tweeting jury duty. Until battery dies. Or a judge holds me in contempt. Whatever comes 1st. Joking, your honor!” wrote Corben, whose films include the Miami-based documentaries “Cocaine Cowboys” and “The U.”

Corben did not identify defendant Angelo Williams, 24, who was found guilty of armed robbery with a weapon, or send messages about the facts of his case to his followers.

But defense attorney Sara Yousuf argues in a motion that “he flouted the repeated and clear command of this court by openly inviting input and commentary about Mr. Williams’ trial.”

Corben tweeted at least 14 times before and after going on the jury, and his five Facebook messages generated 58 comments from readers, the defense says.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jose Fernandez, who warned jurors about using social media beforehand, will take up Yousuf’s motion to overturn her client’s conviction Tuesday morning, the Herald reported.

She noted that one follower replied to Corben on Facebook, “We’ll make sure you put the bad guy away!”

Corben said Williams’ trial was fair and judiciously deliberated by the jury.

“I couldn’t have been more respectful to the process and the integrity of the case,” he told the Herald.

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