Kwame Kilpatrick on Trial
By Alexandra Harland
UPDATE: 3:30 p.m.
Final tally on the day: 5 jurors excused, 11 have been accepted into the poll of 66. Fifty-five more potential jurors are needed.
Of the jurors who were questioned today:
2 black females
1 Asian male
5 white males
7 white females
1 excused due to illness
UPDATE: 2:00 p.m.
After lunch, Victor Mercado was sitting alone in the courtroom. Bernard Kilpatrick came in next. Bobby Ferguson and Kwame Kilpatrick came into the courtroom last - laughing and chatting with one another.
Three potential jurors were questioned. The first was a white female in her 30s who made it into the pool of 66. The next woman was a white female - late 20s or early 30s - she also made it through. The third was a white male in his 40s. He was questioned in length by all of the attorneys involved. During the questioning of this potential juror, Kwame Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson could be seen whispering to one another.
UPDATE: 12:30 p.m.
Judge Edmunds breaks for lunch. Court to reconvene again at 1:30PM. Can't be late!
Kwame Kilpatrick elicited an obvious eye roll when one of the potential jurors declared he had never heard of any racial terms being ascribed to the case.
After 9 potential jurors, the number of those who have passed is 6 and those excused is 3.
60 more to go.
Thursday 9/6/12 9 a.m.
So here we are on day one of the Kwame Kilpatrick federal corruption trial.
Last to arrive in Judge Nancy Edmunds's court room this morning was defendant Victor Mercado, who made a point of sitting somewhat apart from the other defendants, sandwiched between his two lawyers. Bernard Kilpatrick, sat quietly, listening to his counsel. Kwame Kilpatrick, sleek and confident in a dark pinstripe suit, looked confident as he chatted and laughed with longtime friend and co-defendant Bobby Ferguson. Every once in a while, Kwame would look back at the media, scanning the room for familiar faces.
Judge Edmunds entered the court promptly at 9 a.m. and right off the bat informed the court that one potential juror had been excused for health reasons.
Over the next two hours, four potential jurors were questioned by Judge Edmunds, prosecutors and defense counsel. Judge Edmunds outlined to all jurors that they would be referred by number to ensure anonymity and asked about media exposure to the case since they had all last been in court.
All four potential jurors were very different but all seemed keen to prove that they could be impartial and fair.
Interestingly, with all four jurors, Victor Mercado's lawyer John Minock seemed interested in really only two things. Had they ever heard of Victor Mercado previous to the trial- a unanimous no- and would they be able to separate the defendants and establish their guilt or innocence individually. Again a resounding no. Seems like Minock has definitely decided on his strategy of alienating Mercado from the rest of his co-defendants as much as possible
Judge Edmunds called first recess of the day at 10:45am. At this rate, with over 200 potential jurors, it looks like jury selection might be a long slog indeed.
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.