Published on: Thursday, August 19, 2021

The chief judge for the Eastern District of Michigan and three staffers are quarantining after a law clerk tested positive for COVID-19, throwing a wrench into the district's first criminal trial since the pandemic's onset, court officials confirmed Thursday (article available here).

Chief U.S. District Judge Denise Page Hood put an indefinite hold on the fraud trial Wednesday after revealing during a hearing that she'd been in contact with a COVID-positive law clerk. The clerk tested positive two days ago after reporting she'd been around a person who'd come in contact with someone who had it. The jury, which had been seated in a second-floor gallery rather than the jury box, was not exposed.

It's the district's first in-person criminal trial — and second in-person trial overall — since March of last year, but it's not the first time the coronavirus has complicated the case, which went to trial Aug. 12.