|Confidential list surfaces on jury of peers for Rep. William Jefferson|
by Chris Rose, Columnist, The Times-Picayune
Sunday April 05, 2009, 5:00 AM
My colleague Bruce Alpert filed the following story from Washington, D.C., on Wednesday:
"Attorneys for former Rep. William Jefferson want the judge in his upcoming corruption trial to ask prospective jurors whether they have positive or negative views of politicians in general and specifically politicians from Louisiana.
"Jurors would be asked to check the option that best reflects their views: 1) Extremely Positive. 2) Positive. 3) Neutral/No Opinion. 4) Negative. 5) Extremely Negative."
OK, where to begin?
The point of the defense, it seems, would be to eliminate from the jury pool anyone who holds the potentially prejudicial -- and thoroughly shocking -- view that Louisiana politics is a basket of dirty socks.
The next point that comes to mind was raised by political analyst Larry Sabato in Alpert's story: If they restrict the jury to folks who take a favorable view of Louisiana politicians, they may never seat 12 qualified candidates.
And it's all got me wondering: What if they did, in fact, find 12 people who think Louisiana politics is the model that was intended by the Founding Fathers? The mind races. The implications are astounding. Just what kind of people would these be?
Funny you should ask. I happen to have come into possession of a secret list of preferred jury members from the pool of candidates up there in Virginia, those folks that Jefferson's legal team hopes to seat for his trial.
The list is highly confidential, of course, but in the interest of public service, here is some biographical data I have collected on the 12 men and women the Jefferson team hopes to select as a "jury of peers."
James LaShae. A fitness buff and annual contestant in the Boston Marathon. Served in the military. Questionable discharge. Currently seeking medical treatment for a radioactive communications device he believes was implanted in his frontal lobe during an alien abduction. Takes an "extremely positive" view of Louisiana politicians.
Terry Wolf. Claims John Travolta is the father of her nine children. Was fired from her secretarial position at the State Department for sniffing White Out, making Xerox copies of her buttocks and posting them on the break room bulletin board. Once saw the face of Jesus in a Taco Bell chalupa. Takes an "extremely positive" view of Louisiana politicians.
Christopher Redden. Claims to have fired the third shot from the Grassy Knoll. Frightens small children. Wears mostly flannel. Takes an "extremely positive" view of Louisiana politicians.
Robert Voktal. Born in Louisiana in 1914. Moved to Virginia in 1962. Died in 1971. Records show he voted six times for Jefferson in the 1980s and '90s and served as finance director for his most recent campaign. Takes an "extremely positive" view of Louisiana politicians.
Laura Reilly. Former circus performer. Lives in a rural cabin with 32 cats and her deceased husband. Has never heard of color television. Wears an aluminum foil pyramid hat to the local Wal-Mart. Repeatedly asks the cashiers: "What's the frequency, Kenneth?" Thinks the moon is made of Swiss cheese. Wants to be a juror because she heard they provide lunch. Takes an "extremely positive" view of Louisiana politicians.
Richard Rosenthal. A short-wave radio buff, he lives in his mother's basement. Collects Flintstone's memorabilia. Also checked the "extremely positive" box for Bernie Madoff, global warming, clubbing baby seals and the films of Steven Seagal.
Sue DePaul. Name and phone number found in David Vitter's Blackberry. Takes an "extremely positive" view of Louisiana politicians.
Larry Craig. Senator from Idaho. Still not gay. Assumes a wide stance. Assumes people believe him. When people assume, they make an "ass" out of "u" and "me." Takes an "extremely positive" view of Louisiana politicians.
Betty Jefferson. Occupation unknown. Biographical date erased by Nagin administration. Takes an "extremely positive" view of Louisiana politicians.
Jalila Jefferson. Occupation unknown. Biographical data eaten by Ray Nagin's dog. Takes an "extremely positive" view of Louisiana politicians.
Mose Jefferson. Occupation unknown. Biographical data left in Ray Nagin's other pants. Takes an "extremely positive" view of Louisiana politicians.
Umaru Yar'Adua. President of Nigeria.
Columnist Chris Rose can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 504.826.3309, or 504.352.2535.