The case of the United States versus Conrad Black began today with jury selection. Twelve jurors will be selected from a pool of candidates who have already filled out a lengthy questionnaire.
Opening arguments aren't expected until Friday.
The judge questioned some potential jurors who answered question in a rather negative way including a man who lost money in the WorldCom debacle, a woman whose investments went sour and two dozen other prospective jurors.
"We lost every dime," said the woman - one of 27 prospective jurors for the trial of the millionaire former press lord accused of siphoning $84 million from the Hollinger International media empire.
Besides the man who lost money in the $3.8 billion WorldCom scandal, U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve questioned a woman who said on her pretrial questionnaire she distrusted people who make millions of dollars.
"No one receives that much money out of the blue for no reason," she said. Another woman said when asked about her impression of Black: "Whenever I see his picture he seems to be dressed up in a tuxedo."
One woman said she and her husband "have lost every dime that he invested." But she also said she did not believe she could be impartial because her brother-in-law was charged with a federal crime three years ago and she thought he was treated unfairly.
One would think that these 'potential jurors' were found to be not suitable to sit on the jury (at least from the defense side)!
Some other really interesting comments from the jury: when asked what a potential juror knew about about Canada she said "Not much. Socialist country," she said, prompting laughs from Black and the Canadian reporters in the packed courtroom.
Another potential juror's comment: "I think corporations think they are above the law."
Another juror thought Black had "something to do with Britain's royal family
". And yet another on said she'd heard that "his wife was very beautiful and smart
". Ms. Amiel was in the courtroom at the time.
The judge who is a former federal prosecutor, has said that she hopes to have the jury sworn in by the end of tomorrow and have opening statements begin on Monday.
See my post from yesterday on this trial here