In a city where most residents are black, 90 percent are Democrats and the local culture is steeped in politics, the jury is not completely representative. Ten of the 12 jurors — and two of the alternates — are white. Most said during questioning that they have no political opinions about the administration’s handling of Iraq or do not follow the news.
“I am a master of all things pop culture but nothing about current events,” said a woman who books conventions for hotels. Another juror, an art historian with a doctorate, said she glances at newspapers perhaps twice a week and never watches television.
The large proportion of jurors without opinions of the president or the war is a result of the defense’s strategy. Libby’s attorneys told potential jurors that Cheney and other senior aides to Bush probably would testify and asked careful questions to determine how jurors would regard the credibility of those important defense witnesses.
By yesterday morning, when the two sides had narrowed an initial pool of 60 potential jurors to 37, a dozen in that group had expressed at least mild disagreement with the administration. Virtually all of them were excluded from the 16 who were seated.
The jury includes a retired math teacher who said he does not always agree with Bush’s Iraq policy and is “beginning to have less faith in him” as the war continues. But he emphasized his objectivity and said he does “not make any snap judgments.”