Kilpatrick on Trial: Jury selection Day 7
Jury pool stands at 53, target number is 66
The total number of jurors who have now qualified for cause is 55.
A total of seven jurors were questioned throughout the day. One juror was excused for professional hardship and 6 were moved through without challenge.
Of the 55 potential jurors, 13 are African-American -- 3 men and 10 women.
In anticipation of the end of jury selection, federal Judge Nancy Edmunds began the afternoon courtroom session with some instructions on the exercising of peremptory challenges which is scheduled for next Wednesday. This will be when the pool of 66 will be reduced to the final 12 jurors and 6 alternates. Both sides will be able to dismiss potential jurors by exercising strikes- 28 for the defense and 14 for the government.
The first juror in voir dire this afternoon was excused when he explained that his employer would not pay him if he participated in a 4 month trial.
The next juror, a bank employee, said he had heard from "streets talking" that former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was guilty of receiving money he didn't legally deserve. He also told the court that most of is said about the city of Detroit is negative and that in terms of the last trial involving Mr. Kilpatrick, "Kwame was just a scapegoat of it. It's just not fair."
He acknowledged that the current trial was entirely separate from the last one and that he could convict if the government proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
A white, female parts checker was the final juror to qualify for cause today.
Court will in in recess Monday in observance of Rosh Hashanah.
Jury selection will resume and possibly conclude on Tuesday.
Jury selection in the Kwame Kilpatrick federal corruption trial is slowly but surely coming to an end.
Four more jurors entered the next phase of jury selection bringing the total number of selected jurors to 53. The target number for the pool is 66.
The jurors included 2 white males, an African-American female and a woman of Middle-Eastern descent.
On this wet, rainy morning, former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and contractor Bobby Ferguson looked particularly dapper. Kilpatrick, clad in a brown jacket and peach paisley tie, and Ferguson, in his trademark glasses and a hounds tooth jacket with a brown pocket handkerchief, joined co-defendants Bernard Kilpatrick and former Water and Sewerage Department head Victor Mercado at the defense table to listen to voir dire.
All four jurors questioned this morning went unchallenged as they were moved forward.
The first juror was an unemployed machine operator who initially blamed the former mayor for the deterioration of police services in the city of Detroit. The juror cited lack of police protection as the reason why he left the city. However, when Jim Thomas, defense lawyer for Kwame Kilpatrick, informed him that Mr. Kilpatrick had only been in office for 10 months at the time of his move, the juror seemed to reverse his opinion.
Next up was a retired tax return professional who is active with her church. Though the impression of the juror was that the state of race relations was improving, she did concede under questioning that she believes that African-Americans, including public officials, are treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than their white counterparts.
A merchandising clerk and a software developer were the other jurors moved through.
Jury selection continues this afternoon.
About the author:
Alexandra Harland is a Princeton undergrad and has a masters degree in International affairs with Columbia. A Montreal native, she worked with the Daily Telegraph newspaper for a few years before transitioning to TV, when she worked at ABC News with Peter Jennings. Alexandra has also worked in newsrooms in both Detroit and Boston.