Jury selection wraps up Friday for Sheriff Mike Blakely’s corruption trial
On Friday, 15 jurors will be selected for this historic trial from the 102 remaining candidates
ATHENS, Ala. (WAFF) - The last full day of jury selection wrapped up in Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely’s corruption trial and members of the jury and alternates will be selected the morning of July 16.
Blakely is on trial for multiple theft and ethics felonies but maintains his innocence.
Many potential jurors were excused for a lot of different reasons, most being a potential relationship with Sheriff Blakely or, the inability to be impartial due to an already formed opinion of him. Today’s selection process started with 31 potential jurors and ended with 20.
On Friday, 15 jurors will be selected for this historic trial. That includes the three alternates. They will be chosen from the remaining 102 potential jurors who have not yet been excused at Athens High School.
This has obviously been a heavily followed high-profile case due to Blakely’s position, how long he’s been a part of the community, and the serious allegations he is facing. Potential jurors had to answer questions about all of those things today.
At one point during individual questioning, the judge asked attorneys for the state to stop asking members of the jury pool their opinions about Blakely, and focus on how much they already know about the case and what media coverage they have seen.
Blakely is accused of misusing campaign funds, using his position to get interest free loans, and soliciting money from employees. 10 of the charges he faces are felonies.
At one point during Thursday’s selection, a potential juror mentioned his concern about hearing about audits and wanting to see this during the trial. WAFF looked into this and found out there are no discrepancies in the county or sheriff’s office audit per the state examiner’s office and county commission.
The jurors will be selected at Athens High School. Once the jury is selected, they will return to the courthouse and opening statements are expected to begin Friday as well.
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