Black Watch: Any Excuse to Say Doodie
Prosecutors and defense attorneys settled on a jury in the Conrad Black trial on Friday, and the real fun begins today with opening statements. Despite the Tribune's best efforts, Judge Amy St. Eve won't release the names of the 12 jurors and eight alternates, a move usually reserved for trials involving organized crime or terrorism. She is expected to let two of the alternates go today after making sure none of the other jurors suddenly developed an allergy to ridiculously rich media barons over the weekend.
Friday's proceedings provided more entertainment, as more potential jurors went out of their way to make Chicago look like a cow town full of ignorant clods. The judge had to remind one woman that defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty after she said Black must have done something wrong, otherwise he wouldn't need to be in court. Another man who is an accountant for Boeing, apparently took his 15 seconds of fame to grandstand about his knowledge of the law and accounting practices, claiming that it's highly likely that Black did something wrong because he got caught. We swear we used to work with that guy.
If you think we're paying a little too much attention to this case, just be glad you don't live in Toronto, where Toronto Life (their version of Chicago Magazine) has its own blog following the trial. They've been pretty active so far on all aspects of the case, including 800 words on Friday about what Lord Black and his wife were wearing, and a post titled "Jury Doodie" that puts to shame any jokes we could think of today. All jokes aside though, they've done a far more thorough job covering the trial than anything in the Chicago media, so if you're into that sort of thing (it is for "avid observers," they admit), then have at it.