PORTLAND – A Kittery businessman who faces a prison sentence for falsely declaring on a Small Business Administration loan application that he had no criminal record has lost his bid for a new trial.

Peter Enzinger, 44, was convicted last month in U.S. District Court for knowingly making false statements about his criminal record. Under federal sentencing guidelines, he faces as much as two years in prison.

Three days after the trial, a juror wrote Judge D. Brock Hornby a letter saying that he or she misunderstood the need for a unanimous verdict. The juror wrote that he or she believed Enzinger was innocent, but mistakenly thought that the other 11 other jurors would have to be convinced for Enzinger to be acquitted.

This week, Hornby denied Enzinger’s request for a new trial. In his order, he wrote that courts and lawyers are not to inquire about what happened in the jury room or investigate how the jury reached its verdict.

He wrote that exceptions are made when extraneous prejudicial information is improperly brought to the jury’s attention, when outside influences are improperly brought to bear on a juror, when a mistake is made in entering the verdict or, sometimes, when there is a question about ethnic or racial bias.

The juror’s letter does not fit into any of those categories, Hornby wrote.

“This is at best a single juror’s misunderstanding of the judge’s jury instructions. The cases are uniform that such a misunderstanding is not grounds for overturning a verdict or examining a juror about it,” he wrote.

Hornby noted that he read instructions about reaching a decision before the jury began its deliberations, and that each juror was allowed to take a copy to the jury room. The instructions included the statements:

“Do not be afraid to change your opinion if you think you are wrong. But do not come to a decision simply because other jurors think it is right.”

“Do not surrender an honest conviction about the evidence simply to reach a verdict.”

After the jury foreman announced the verdict, the clerk asked jurors if that was their verdict and all responded affirmatively, Hornby wrote.

In March 2009, Enzinger applied for the $1.3 million loan on behalf of his businesses, Kittery-based Atlantic Medical Supplies and Seacoast Sleep Solutions. A form submitted as part of the application indicated that he had never been charged with, arrested for or convicted of any criminal offense other than minor motor vehicle violations. But Enzinger had four convictions in Massachusetts under the surname Shays.

During the trial, the defense suggested that a staff person may have filled out the form. Enzinger testified that he had been issued “tickets” for incidents of shoplifting and being a disorderly person in 1985 but didn’t realize they were criminal convictions.

He claimed he had no memory of the other two incidents, in which he was convicted of furnishing liquor to a minor in 1987 and disturbing the peace in 1990.

Hornby has not yet ruled on a separate motion for a new trial filed by Enzinger’s lawyer, Toby Dilworth. That motion argues that evidence was wrongfully excluded from the trial and cites the prosecution’s failure to produce the original form from the loan application.

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

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