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Attorney indicted on jury-tampering charges

Embracery? No, it doesn’t mean what you think. The word comes not from the Old French word for arm but from the Middle English word to set on fire or incite—as one might do when trying to influence a juror improperly.

The Daily Progress reports that Charlottesville attorney Deborah C. Wyatt is accused of doing just that in a case that dates back to December 2004. Wyatt is accused of embracery for contacting several members of a grand jury and offering to be a witness when it considered indicting a client on hit-and-run charges.

She wanted to say that the client had a history of seizures, but she was not called, and the client was indicted only to be acquitted later.

Wyatt was actually indicted on five misdemeanor counts of the common-law offense in June 2005, but the charges were sealed while the Virginia State Bar considered whether Wyatt violated legal ethics. The agency finally decided to defer any action until the criminal case was resolved.

Wyatt insists she did nothing wrong.

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