UPDATE: Media now allowed into jury selection in Sheriff Mike Blakely’s trial

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 7:11 AM CDT
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LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) - Jury selection in the trial of Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely is scheduled to continue on Tuesday.

Blakely is facing theft and ethics charges in the trial that started on July 12. The process of jury selection is expected to take several days, especially with a big jury pool.

Members of the media will be allowed in the jury selection process for Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely’s trial. That’s according to our Madison Scarpino, who just left the courtroom moments ago.

On Tuesday afternoon, a new motion was filed in the case against Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely. It’s an effort by media groups in the state to gain access to jury selection and other proceedings.

Legal representatives for WAFF helped file the motion, along with the Alabama Broadcasters Association.

See the full motion below:

After the judge addressed the media, she called in 33 potential jurors present today. Attorneys from both sides asked the jurors questions.

State prosecutors began by asking if any jurors knew others in the room, to which almost half answered yes. They asked potential jurors if anyone has been paid to travel to work or if they have taken out a loan for work.

They asked if anyone worked on Blakely’s campaign and also asked questions surrounding the Sheriff’s rodeo, a fundraiser Blakely launched decades ago. They also asked if anyone was friends with Blakely on Facebook or have ridden horses with him.

Two jurors were excused after answering yes to if they felt uncomfortable judging Blakely and if they automatically are taking his side. One of Blakely’s defense attorneys asked potential jurors their opinion on gambling in Alabama and whether they believe a person who gambles is inherently bad.

The defense questioned whether anyone called the sheriffs office before and if they were satisfied. They also asked if anyone attended Blakely’s wife’s funeral, she died in the last year.

Prosecutors allege Blakely misused campaign funds, used sheriff’s office funds to take loans, and solicited money from his employees. Blakely has pleaded not guilty, but he is facing 11 charges.

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