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Black Watch: Jury Selection Begins

By Matt Wood in News on Mar 15, 2007 11:02AM

chicagoist_200703_black2.jpgStep right up, folks: the Conrad Black media circus has officially commenced, and we've already learned a few things:

  • Lord Black of Crossharbour may be famous in some circles, but not that famous: he slipped into court yesterday through the south door, away from the gaggle of reporters and TV cameras, and no one noticed.
  • $62,000 birthday parties be damned, he can't be all that bad: the man is a fan of Corner Bakery.
  • Wouldn't he look good in a mustache?
  • Michael Sneed is going to wear out her pun dictionary trying to report this trial.
  • People will say absolutely anything to get out of jury duty.

Yesterday's main event was jury selection, and we were pleased to see the wealth of great quotes coming from potential jurors. Obviously, one of the criteria for Black's defense counsel is that jurors not be biased toward rich people, so many of the questions had to do with his lifestyle and income. One woman earned the hook when she said, "Whenever I see his picture he seems to be dressed up in a tuxedo," another said, "I hear tens of millions of dollars and I shudder", and one was gonged when she wrote on a pretrial questionnaire that people who receive large amounts of money, "may have been paid off for some kind of misconduct." This kind of stuff makes them look like dopes in the press, but we'd actually like to give them a hand: they knew exactly what to say to avoid jury duty. We know, we know, it's a privilege and an honor, a sacred rite of American citizenship, but would you really want to do it for four months?

Expect more blow-by-blow details on Black's demeanor (so far, stern), his columnist wife's composure (attentive, taking notes), and their lunches (today: panini!) as the trail unfolds.

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