Race issue has come full circle in Kilpatrick jury selection

Race issue has come full circle in Kilpatrick jury selection

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Kwame Kilpatrick outside federal court in Detroit  (Credit: myFOXDetroit.com) Kwame Kilpatrick outside federal court in Detroit (Credit: myFOXDetroit.com)
DETROIT (myFOXDetroit.com) -

The issue of race has come full circle as jury selection continues in the Kwame Kilpatrick federal corruption trial. So far, 55 people have made it to the jury pool.

For eight days, defense attorneys have grilled potential jurors who are white on how their views on race might affect the case.

Now prosecutors are asking potential jurors who are black if they would acquit Kilpatrick even if the evidence points to a guilty verdict.

"I suppose they think that those are the people who might have that sentiment," said John Minock, an attorney for Victor Mercado.

Prosecutors won't discuss their strategy, but it is plain enough to Kilpatrick attorney Jim Thomas.

"What they're trying to protect against is jury nullification."

Defense attorneys haven't been shy about objecting to many things so far, but they say it is fair game.

"They don't tell me how to try my case, and I don't tell them how to try their case, and If I think they're doing something improper, I'll typically get up and say something," said Bernard Kilpatrick attorney John Shea.

Minock dismissed the notion that a juror would rely on anything but the facts.

"I think that's ridiculous. I think that the black populace in this area is more sophisticated than that."

Prosecutors have also asked some white jurors the same questions. It is not just a matter of race. It is a matter of what they say both in questionnaires given to jurors before they came to court and their answers to questions from the jury box. If they say things that make the prosecutors believe that they may never be able to reach a guilty verdict no matter the evidence, they are going to get a good grilling.

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