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Some potential jurors told to report again Thursday

by Margie Hyslop

Staff Writer

Jury selection is slated to continue at 8 a.m. Thursday in Annapolis to pick 12 jurors and four alternates to decide whether Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold wasted thousands of taxpayer dollars to enable and hide an intimate relationship with a county employee and to help him win a second term.

To qualify a pool of 36 potential jurors, Circuit Court Judge Dennis M. Sweeney oversaw the questioning of more than 90 potential jurors during more than seven hours in the courtroom Wednesday and told roughly 30 more to return Thursday.

Sweeney, prosecutors and defense lawyers were not able to determine by late Wednesday afternoon whether they yet had enough jurors without conflicts or opinions about the case that would keep them from serving impartially.

About 336 residents were called for jury duty in the case, in which Leopold is charged with misconduct. According to the indictment, he used his security detail to transport him to parking lots for sex, hide the affair from his live-in girlfriend, compile dossiers on political enemies, collect campaign contributions, maintain his campaign signs and stand by while he removed opponents’ campaign signs.

White noise and lowered voices kept most of the courtroom from hearing what jurors were asked or said.

Leopold, who served almost 20 years as a state delegate, then six years as a county executive –– he has not stepped down from that post –– stood with his lawyers at the bench most of the time during questioning, occasionally smiling and chuckling.