The Local newsletter is your free, daily guide to life in Colorado. For locals, by locals. Sign up today!
It’s 1:05 pm. The potential jurors file in. They fill the three rows in the jury box and the left side of the courtroom. The first row of the right side of the courtroom, behind the Government’s table and the jury box is reserved for the press. There are no electrical outlets for laptop batteries. This is not a transcript. It’s only my notes as fast as I can type. Spelling errors will be fixed later. Refresh your page every 15 minutes or so for updates.
Key: Judge Nottingham: JN or Judge Stern: Herbert Stern, lead defense counsel Stricklin: Cliff Stricklin, Government chief counsel The Judge explains it’s a trial about insider trading. He asks if anyone has a moral or religious conviction against serving in a criminal case. He identifies the people associated with the case. One juror knows the judge. He installed a stereo in the Judge’s home some years ago. JN says he paid for the installation and the stereo works. Everyone laughs. Prosecutor Cliff Stricklin introduces himself and the other members of the team to the jury. He reads the list of possible witnesses. I’m not even going to try and name them as he reads fast and the names are hard to catch. Only one is a law enforcement witness. None of those in the jury box knows any of the attorneys or any clerical or other employee of the Justice Department. None of them know the witnesses named. No one needs any clarification on the names. They don’t know any of the FBI agents in this case. One does know a FBI agent generally. He works in software and has had contact with FBI agents to do background investigations. Also they came once to investigate a security breach. It’s hard to hear the jurors. They don’t have microphones and it’s a big courtroom. This juror has some kind of classified information security clearance. He doesn’t remember the names of any of the FBI agents he dealt with. He says he would believe the testimony of a FBI agent more than other witnesses. The judge tries to rehabilitate him: Would it make any difference I told you not to? The Judge on his own motion excuses the juror.
That's only $1 per issue!
1:20 pm A female juror takes his place and is individually questioned about her media habits. She doesn’t read the print papers or papers online. She watches the local news. When the questionnaire was sent out, she tried to figure out what case she was being called for. Her husband pointed out the Nacchio case to her. The juror now approaches the bench where she is joined by defense counsel and prosecutors and Nacchio. This is where the other, more personal questions are asked, outside of our earshot. Interestingly, the potential jurors are identified by name. But, I won’t be posting them. The reason for having the jurors approach the bench when giving specifics of media information they have about the case is that the Judge doesn’t want the other jurors to hear what they heard on the news, it could be prejudicial. I’m just now looking around the courtroom. There are plenty of extra press seats in the first few rows of the courtroom. There are also many available public seats. Judge is now back to questioning the group in the jury box as a whole. He introduces the defense team. Before turning the introductions over to them, he tells the jury that an accused person has an absolute right not to testify or produce any evidence. If you are selected, you shall not draw any inference of guilt if the defendant does not testify. Such decisions are frequently made for reasons other than guilt or innocence. Mr. Stern stands and introduces the defense team. Witnesses (I missed three or so and I have no idea if I caught the names correctly): Anschutz, Phillip A. Borteck, Robert Clarke, Richard Colia, Deborah Fischel, Daniel Freidman, Louis Hammer, M.D., Harvey Hays, Abbot Giles, O.S.B. Jacobsen, Stephen Johnston, George Matthews, Thomas Payne, James F. X. Sirkin, Michael Tarpey, Michael Tempest, Drake Tiano, Salvatore Wandry, Dean White, Jonathan Young III , George H. “Woody” Woodruff, Robert No one knows them. Judge asks if any have opinions about the following witnesses. Philip Anschutz ? Mohebbi Robin Szeliga Robert Woodruff Judge : Has anyone been charged with a crime other than a traffic citation? One man says yes and he and lawyers approach the bench. Nacchio stays seated for this one. 1:35 pm Juror takes his seat back. Do any of you have close family members or friends charged with a crime other than a traffic offense? A woman raised her hand. Her husband while in the army was charged with blowing something up at a dairy farm. Sounds like it happened before she knew him. Next juror with hand up asks to approach the bench. He answers there, then goes back to sit down. Another juror: his brother was charged with felony assault. He thinks the case was investigated fairly. He doesn’t know about how the prosecution was handled. It did result in a conviction. Sees no connection between this case and that one. He’ll put his feelings about that case aside for this one. Have any of you been the focus of a long law enforcement investigation. No. Family members? No. Have any of you ever been the victim of a crime like a robbery or mugging. One juror works in a detox unit. There were assaults. He doesn’t fault law enforcement for their handling of the cases. Another victim: (Finally, they are giving microphones to the jurors.) Robbed at work and at home. Told the police each time. One time the crime was solved, and insurance paid for the loss. The police did all they could to investigate, just didn’t happen to find the perpetrator. Says has feelings of frustration that the other one wasn’t solved. Doesn’t think the frustration from that incident will spill over to this case. She thinks she can listen to evidence and decide case fairly. Next victim juror: attempted assault while collecting a rent check. She was satisfied with handling of incident, no feelings of frustration. Another juror: house robbery 15 years ago. police investigated, never caught the perpetrator. She thinks the police did all they could. Another male juror was victim of a crime where nobody got caught. 1:45 Have any of you worked for any branch of law enforcement? No. Family members in law enforcement? A few raise their hands. One woman has two brothers who are prison guards. After further questions from the Judge, she says she won’t trust testimony of law enforcement officer more than other witnesses. Another juror has family member in law enforcement. He can be fair. Another one has a wife’s cousin who is a retired detective in Aurora. He only sees him at weddings and funerals. Says he can be fair. Is there anyone who would believe the testimony of a law enforcement officer solely because of their status as an officer? Disbelieve? Has anyone had a particularly bad or good experience with a law enforcement officer? Moves on to the topic of “the rules”: 1. The Government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s a doubt based on reason and common sense. It’s a doubt that would make a person hesitate to act in a matter of importance to them. None of the jurors would have a problem applying the rule. 2. Defendant is presumed innocent. He is innocent unless and until his guilt is established by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. None would hesitate to apply presumption of innocence. 3. Suppose I were tell you to go to the jury room and render a verdict now. They all agree the verdict would be not guilty. Judge asks if any of them are in military? One is in national guard. No personal experience with military justice system. A woman juror served in the air force for three and a half years. No experience with military justice system. 2:00 Do any of you have legal training or been in a civil lawsuit? One juror asks to approach the bench. So do a few more. Have any of you ever served on a jury before? A few hands go up. One served on a jury that convicted a defendant. Another served on an assault case in 1978. He recounts the facts of the case, a son was charged with hitting his mother with a telephone. Jury found not guilty. Another woman served on a jury which came back with a guilty verdict. 2:15 pm Have any of you ever worked for Qwest or U.S. West? One says yes, a family member works or has worked for Qwest. Another one say his son in law’s parents both worked for U.S. West. One worked there for 30 years and one for 20 years. He thinks they retired around 1999 to 2001. He sees them on holidays. The in-laws had to go back to work after retirement, in part due to what happened to Qwest. He thinks he can be fair. His in-laws have moved on mentally. What was, was. He also has an old friend who worked for US West who resigned in the 90’s. They moved to Oregon five years ago and he hasn’t seen him since. He was President of the retiree’s association who was not too happy with the company. He will try to set aside his personal feelings. He thinks he can do it. Would you have a problem facing your family and friends if you found him not guilty? Long pause, I don’t think they’d hold it against me. Has anyone been turned down for work by Qwest or U.S. West? Other than getting your home phone or internet service, have any of you done business with them? Have any of you had telephone service that was so bad you’d hold it against them? Do any of you own stock in either company? Have any of you ever lost money in a Qwest or U.S. West retirement plan? The judge returns to the guy who’s in-laws retired from Qwest? He says they did own stock in the company. Have any of you ever been in a dispute or lawsuit with the U.S. or any government agency. Have any of you had accounting experience? Several raise their hands. Bookkeeping? A few more raise their hands. Business management? A few raise their hands. Investment banking? Marketing? Stock trading? My battery is about gone, I’m going to move to the media room where you can plug in your laptop. I’ll be back with a new thread. 2:30