Judge Reggie Walton and the attorneys in the Libby case were greeted this morning by a string of prospective jurors who didn’t have strong feelings one way or the other about the Bush administration and the war in Iraq. Out of the nine D.C. citizens questioned this morning, only two said they could not be “fair” and judge the case strictly on what is presented in court. So, one after the other, seven of the jurors who were questioned this morning were quickly approved. And the court has now gone beyond the “36” needed for the second round. (They actually approved a 37th.)
The bottom line is that we will know by 4 p.m. today who will sit on the Libby jury and determine whether his testimony under oath during the leak investigation, prompting the charges against him, were honest mistakes or deliberate lies. The court has given attorneys in the case until 3 p.m. to consider their “strike list” of potential jurors. In addition, the court is now conducting a “criminal background check” on the 37 jurors in the pool.
At 3 p.m., attorneys on both sides will inform the court of their “peremptory challenges.” The defense gets 12; the prosecution has eight. Some strikes may be of the same person, but in any case, just after 3 p.m. today, we should know who has been “struck” and who remains. Then, of those who remain, the first 12 will comprise the jury, the next four will be alternates.