Court Begins Screening Potential Stevens Jurors

Posted September 22, 2008 at 9:44am

Juror selection began Monday morning in the trial of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens (R), who made his first appearance in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia since his July arraignment.

Stevens is charged with seven counts of filing false financial statements to conceal the receipt of more than $250,000 in gifts over an eight-year period. He has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Judge Emmet Sullivan offered instructions to the pool of approximately 75 jurors.

“The purpose of this questionnaire is to encourage your full expression and candor,” Sullivan said.

Jury selection is expected to continue Tuesday, and Sullivan suggested it could last until Thursday. Opening arguments in the case could begin as early as Wednesday.

Stevens did not speak at the proceedings.

At least four Senators are among the potential witnesses Sullivan identified to the jury pool: Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), as well as Stevens himself.