For Scooter Libby, a slow road to trial

Jury selection bogs down as the court struggles to find jurors who haven't made up their minds about the Bush administration already.

By Tim Grieve
Published January 18, 2007 8:01PM (EST)

Three days into jury selection in the Scooter Libby trial, Judge Reggie Walton has come across exactly one potential juror who says she supported the decision to invade Iraq: She's a former saleswoman for a defense contractor.

By Reuters' count, Walton has kept in the jury pool so far only 25 of the 36 potential jurors he had planned to have by this afternoon, when defense and prosecution witnesses were to start winnowing down the list to 12 jurors and four alternates.

Walton has dismissed 10 potential jurors for "their strong opposition to the Bush administration, the Iraq war or journalists involved in the case," Reuters says. Among the jurors who have been dismissed so far: A woman who declared that "you can't believe any statement by the Bush administration."

Patrick Fitzgerald, hoping to get a jury seated soon and probably not entirely unhappy about the idea of having some Bush skeptics on the panel, argued this morning that opposition to the war shouldn't be disqualifying because jurors "will not be asked to render a verdict on the war or what they think of the war."

Fitzgerald made the argument as he tried to keep in the pool a woman who called the war a "tremendous, terrible mistake" but said that "whether any one person or the administration is responsible for that is quite a complex question." Walton tossed her from the jury pool anyway.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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