Sixty-five people summoned for federal jury duty have about a one in four chance of being called as one of 12 jurors or four alternates in the trial of City Councilman Jack Kelly’s former chief of staff, Chris Wright, his campaign treasurer, Andrew Teitelman, and two brothers, Hardeep and Ravinder Chawla, who have given him tens of thousands in campaign contributions.
Crowded into an overheated courtroom this afternoon, the potential panel faced questions from U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno. Ten of the potential jurors had heard about the case. Two know a potential witness, City Councilman Darrell Clarke. Nine have served on juries before and 17 have been involved in court cases, as a defendant, victim or witness. One is awaiting trial on DUI charges. And one said the he would have a problem being fair or impartial toward the Chawla brothers because they are natives of Burma, raised abroad and now naturalized citizens.
Twenty of the jurors said the trial, expected to last about two weeks, would pose an undo burden on their lives. Two said they would have a problem with evidence from a wiretap in which one person recorded another without their knowledge or permission. Kelly recorded a June 2007 telephone call with Wright for the feds along with a face-to-face meeting with Ravinder Chawla that month.