Cook County Commissioner William Beavers’ defense attorneys are saying the juror pool for his tax evasion trial is “rigged.”
the randomly-selected 50 potential jurors that were subject to
questioning by U.S. District Judge James Zagel yesterday, there was not
one African-American male in the group. Zagel, who made it through 24
jurors during questioning in order to select 12 who will sit for the
trial, will continue questioning today.
“I’ve been trying cases
down here 52 years. I have never seen a case where I represented a black
(male) defendant and they sent out 50 jurors, 50! 50 jurors! And not
one single black man,” said Sam Adam Sr. outside the courtroom. “Now
don’t tell me that was an accident.”
Beavers defense team
requested the juror pool be dismissed, but Zagel denied the request and
instead told prosecutors and defense attorneys to discuss the juror
selection process with the U.S. Clerk’s office for the Northern District
of Illinois to confirm proper procedures were followed.
they gonna say? We did it on purpose? … This was all rigged some
place,” said Adam, confirming attorneys plan to proceed with the jurors
that were already selected. “Some place in this so-called federal
system, this was all rigged.”
Beavers, 78, an African-American
former Chicago cop and South Side alderman, is accused of siphoning $226,000 over a three-year period from his campaign fund for personal
use, including gambling. He is alleged to have used more than $68,000 in
campaign funds to increase his council pension, according to the indictment.
UPDATE 1 (12:45 p.m.): U.S. District Judge James Zagel has issued a gag order on the attorneys on the case, incluing Cook County Commissioner William Beavers’ defense attorneys, Sam Adam Sr., Sam Adam Jr. and Victor Henderson. Zagel said public statements from attorneys during a trial “frequently distracts the lawyers from the purpose of the case.”
“When I say statements, I mean no statement … not until the trial is over,” Zagel said sternly, according to CBS.