Jury selected in Brown corruption trial; Opening statements could begin after lunch break

Judge James Klindt told the federal court on Tuesday that he believes the jury will be selected around the lunch break and the trial could start as early as 1 p.m. He added that’s all contingent on if the jury is seated in a timely manner.

By 10 a.m., the potential jury was selected but not yet seated and the court took a brief recess before moving forward with jury seating and instruction.

Spectator rows are fuller Wednesday than they have been in the past – several men in suits who were not present during the previous two days of jury selection.

While the prosecution’s team and her defense lawyer stood around at the beginning of the day prior to the judge’s entry, former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown sat quietly at the defense table.

Brown is facing 22 counts of various fraud charges, including theft of government funds, mail, tax and wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit said crimes. The indictment was handed down charging both her and her former chief of staff back in July 2016.

She has pleaded not guilty and maintained she was eager for her chance to prove her innocence.

As the former congresswoman arrived for the final day of jury selection and the likely first day of her trial, she was greeted by a handful of local pastors and city leaders for a street corner prayer vigil before she made her way into the federal courthouse. 

A pair of jurors, one who served as a police officer for many years and another whose son tried to talk to him about the case, caused Klindt some unease as they still needed to be individually questioned. On Tuesday, individual questioning was thought to be wrapped up.

Assistant U.S. Attorney A. Tysen Duva asked to approach the bench after Klindt announced there’d be more questioning and the lawyers and the judge spoke in a sidebar. The judge says they discussed some procedural matters that will come out in court.

Duva announced a joint motion to strike for cause regarding three jurors. James Smith, Brown’s attorney, agreed. Klindt acquiesced on all three, double-checking to see if there were any other challenges based on cause.

When neither had any, the judge moved the proceedings to preemptory challenges of the jury. Both the prosecution and the defense have the chance to strike several jurors from the potential jury pool. The defense gets 10 while the prosecution gets six.

Smith struck two jurors - three and four - with his first two strikes. Duva struck juror 16 with the government's first strike. Smith then struck juror five and juror 10. The government then struck juror 18. Neither side needs to give a reason in open court for why they're striking specific jurors. Each side eventually felt satisfied with the prospective jury.

 

 

There are 12 members seated on the jury and four alternates, per Klindt. The jury was ready to be seated before 10 a.m.

Klindt said before a short recess that he's going to confer with judge who will preside over the arguments in the case, Judge Timothy Corrigian, and see what he wants to do - when he would like the trial to begin and other procedural questions.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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