The Sideshow

Woman admits faking mental illness to avoid jury duty; now charged with perjury

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

What was once merely a gag on the television comedy "30 Rock" has become a reality, after a Denver woman faked a mental illness to avoid jury duty.

Denver's 9News reports that Susan Cole, 57, faces charges of perjury after she admitted to faking the mental illness during an interview with a  local talk-radio show. "I am embarrassed I did it. I didn't mean to harm the judge. I really felt bad she interpreted this," Cole said, after admitting she "deliberately dressed in a disheveled and uncoordinated fashion," and was excused from jury duty in July 2011.

But Cole's deception went beyond merely wearing mismatched clothes. And the evidence suggests she hasn't stopped lying to authorities. Cole also told the court she was suffering from PTSD. "I broke out of domestic violence in the military. And I have a lot of repercussions. One is post-traumatic stress disorder," the court reporter's records show Cole saying. "My military records are now missing. I have lived on the street, and I have worked myself up to living with my cousin."

Cole then recounted her hoax during an October 17, 2011, interview on the Dave Logan Show. Ironically, the judge Cole had lied to about her condition was listening to the program when Cole explained what she had done. Cole has since admitted lying to the judge but attempted to explain her motivation for lying by saying she slept in late during the day she was scheduled to appear in court and was "distraught" over a motorcycle accident that had recently occurred near her home. She also claims to actually be suffering from PTSD from both an "abusive marriage" and her previous alleged traumatic military experience. The U.S. Army says it has no records verifying Cole's claims. And Cole's divorce records reportedly do not contain any evidence, or even allegations, of physical or mental abuse

"The defense will have to show that she did not knowingly lie about a material fact. Bragging about getting out of jury duty is a little bit like being proud of not voting or cheating on your taxes," 9News Legal Analyst Scott Robinson told the station.

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