Jury Picked in Sen. Ted Steven’s Corruption Trial

Sen. Steven/official photo
Sen. Steven/official photo
By Allan Lengel
WASHINGTON — The slow, methodical and sometimes painful process of picking a jury in the political corruption trial of Sen. Ted Stevens wrapped up Wednesday.
During the first two days of jury selection, some prospective jurors said they simply felt Stevens was guilty. One Christian Scientist said her religion precluded her from judging others.
Still, after the two days, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan had managed to identify about 30 potential jurors who said they could be open minded. By about 1 p.m. Wednesday, 16 jurors — 12 regular and four alternates –had been selected.
Opening statements are set to begin Thursday at 9:30 a.m.
After jury selection, Judge Sullivan emphasized  to attorneys that he wanted to accommodate Sen. Stevens and complete the trial before the November elections. Stevens, a 40-year veteran of the Senate, is running for re-election.
The case is the latest attraction — or distraction —  in Washington. Press interest is high. In fact, an overflow room for reporters who can’t fit into the courtroom is expected to be packed, at least the first day or two of trial.
And during the course of the trial, a number of Washington insiders — including former Sec. of State Colin Powell and Sen. Ted Kennedy — may appear as witnesses.
Stevens, 84, a powerful Republican from Alaska, is charged with knowingly failing to disclose about $250,000 in gifts and services.

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