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Bill Clinton, on a jury? Not likely

©Associated Press

March 2, 2003


NEW YORK -- Former President Bill Clinton has been tapped for jury duty.

A questionnaire designed to help defense lawyers and prosecutors select a jury for a federal attempted murder case indicated that Prospective Juror No. 142 was actually William Jefferson Clinton.

Although Clinton's name was never revealed at a hearing in federal court in Manhattan on Friday, his answers, read aloud in the courtroom, provided the giveaway.

Under previous jobs held, the respondent answered President of the United States. He also wrote that he thought he could be fair and impartial, despite his "unusual experience with the OIC," or Office of Independent Counsel.

David E. Kendall, Clinton's lawyer, said that Clinton is ready and willing to serve. "The former president is subject to jury duty, he's done his part, and if selected he would serve," Kendall told the New York Times in Saturday editions.

Federal prosecutors and the attorney for the defendant, Dushon Foster, disagreed about whether Prospective Juror No. 142 should be selected for the case. Foster is charged with attempted murder in an alleged gang shooting and could face life in prison, if convicted.

"Any particular question in Questionnaire 142 that you want to direct me to?" Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald asked the prosecutors, the New York Times reported.

"All of them, judge," a prosecutor, Daniel M. Gitner, said.

Defense lawyer Roger L. Stavis, disagreed with the prosecution and said that No. 142 should not be immediately disqualified.

But Buchwald, who was appointed by Clinton in 1999, appeared to agree with the prosecutors, citing concerns about sensationalism.

"To have Juror 142 here, with Secret Service protection is to, it seems to me, undermine our efforts to keep the case focused quietly on the evidence," the New York Times cited Buchwald as saying.

Buchwald said if she changed her mind, she would let the prosecutors and defense attorney know by Monday.

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