Less than two hours after the jury considering the fate of former Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver began deliberating on the corruption charges against him, a distressed juror's note has thrown a wrench in the proceedings. The note appears to be the work of a holdout facing a group of jurors that have already made up their mind to a large degree. It reads:

I am wondering if there is any way I can be excused from this case, because I have a different opinion/view so far in this case and it is making me feel very, very uncomfortable . … I’m feeling presssured, stressed out … told that I’m not using my common sense, my heart is pounding and my head feels weird. I am so stressed out right now that I can’t even write normally. I don’t feel like I can be myself right now! I need to leave!

As Judge Valerie Caproni was reading the note, a second juror's note arrived, saying, "One of the jurors is having difficulty distinguishing whether or not exchanging state funds for something in return is illegal," and requesting a "code of conduct or ethics" to educate the confused person.

For those keeping score at home, a politician taking money to do something for the donor is bribery and Silver is being charged for it under the federal law covering what's called "honest services fraud." In 2010, the Supreme Court narrowed the definition of what can be considered honest services fraud, ruling that prosecutors have to prove not just self-dealing or undisclosed conflicts of interest, but direct kickbacks.

Much of Silver's defense relies on the distinction. During the trial, defense lawyers repeatedly elicited testimony from people involved in various aspects of Silver's unethical moneymaking schemes saying that they weren't aware of a direct quid-pro-quo arrangement, or weren't aware Silver was getting paid by a third party. Silver is also being charged with extortion.

The case hinges on the question of whether nearly $4 million in payments Silver received for referring tax and asbestos illness cases to law firms were the fruit of arrangements he made with developers and a prominent cancer researcher for favors, or just run-of-the-mill Albany back-room dealing.

In his closing argument on Monday, Silver's attorney Steve Molo blamed Silver's actions on the Assembly's pay system, wherein legislators are considered part-time, make $79,500 on the books, and are allowed outside jobs.

"It's virtually impossible for someone to serve in this citizen-legislator model and not have some form of conflict," he said.

Caproni has suspended jury deliberations while she decides how to proceed. She said she won't dismiss the distressed juror just yet.

"It’s too early for a juror to throw in the towel," she said, adding that she would instruct jurors to "be respectful of everyone’s view."