THE BRONX - A city firefighter took the stand Wednesday in a hearing about Facebook messages between him and a juror following the Black Sunday verdict in February.

Brenden Cawley said juror Karen Krell "friended" him on the site Facebook during the trial, but he didn't see the request until after the verdict. Attorneys for the convicted landlord, Cesar Rios, say the contact between Krell and Cawley, even after the verdict, countered the theory of juror impartiality.

Two FDNY firefighters died in the 2005 fire when they leaped out a window after they found themselves trapped by illegal partitions. A jury found Rios guilty of not removing those illegal walls, and he now faces up to five years in prison.

Defense attorneys and the prosecution will reconvene on Dec. 21.