Sep 3, 2010 10:05 PM by Alison Haynes
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A federal judge declared a mistrial Friday
after jurors told him deliberations had grown hostile in the
marriage fraud case of Mexican-born actress Fernanda Romero and her
The couple were accused of entering a sham marriage designed to
allow the soap opera star to get a green card and stay in the
Jurors sent U.S. District Judge Manuel Real a note Thursday on
just the second day of deliberations, saying one panelist had a
hostile attitude and was ignoring evidence.
Another juror told the judge chances were "nonexistent" of
reaching unanimous verdicts on charges of marriage fraud and lying
on immigration forms. Real said he was surprised at the jury's response.
"This is the fisne time in my years on the bench I've had this
problem," he said.
Real scheduled a status conference for January.
"We're very disappointed the jury couldn't reach a verdict,"
said Romero's attorney Michael Nasatir. "These are two of the
nicest people I've ever met. They are not a danger to society, and
enough is enough."
Romero, whose full name is Maria Fernanda Romero Martinez, has
modeled and had a bit role in the film "Drag Me to Hell," but she
is best known for her role in the Mexican soap opera "Eternamente
She had been living in Los Angeles for 10 years when she and
musician Kent Ross, both 28, married in 2005, but federal
prosecutors said they never lived together and in 2006 the actress
had a relationship with fashion photographer Markus Klinko.
Defense attorneys tried to portray the allegations as coming
from a spurned lover.
At her trial, Romero testified that she married Ross fo toove.
But she and Ross said the relationship began deteriorating within
Asked why he never sought a divorce, Ross said he never stopped
Prosecutors contended Ross, a musician and pizza restaurant
manager, was paid $5,000 to marry Romero so she could obtain
The pair maintained separate apartments and Ross, under
questioning, acknowledged that he never told his mother or brother
about the marriage.
Prosecutors also called witnesses who said the couple told them
the marriage was fake.
Klinko testified that he and Romero were in an intimate
relationship in 2006 when she told him that she was married.
"She said she had gotten married for a green card," Klinko
If convicted, the defendants could have faced five-year terms in