Jury seated in Jefferson trial
06:35 PM CDT on Thursday, June 11, 2009
Bigad Shaban / Eyewitness News
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The jury in the bribery and corruption trial of former Congressman William Jefferson has been seated.
Opening statements are set to begin 10 a.m. Tuesday.
The jury is comprised of eight women and four men. There are four alternate jurors: three males and one woman.
Earlier while some potential jurors were questioned about their ties to New Orleans, one potential juror was questioned about a discrimination lawsuit she had filed.
The issue of race became the subject of questions for the potential female juror after she told the court that she recently filed a discrimination lawsuit against her employer.
Jefferson’s attorney Robert Trout requested that Judge T.S. Ellis III ask the potential juror, who is a white woman, what was the basis of the her discrimination suit.
When Ellis asked why, Trout responded, that if the answer is race, he would like to have that information.
The woman later told the court it was based on age and race.
“The defendant is, of course, American of African descent. Would you be able to judge this case fairly?” Ellis asked the potential juror.
“The people I work with are African American and we’re best friends,” she replied.
With trial expected to last several weeks, a lot of the questions that the potential jurors were asked has to deal with a person’s vacation schedule, because Ellis said he didn’t want to inconvenience a lot of people.