Barry Pollack was quoted regarding the jury selection and trial of former VA Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen. The six-week trial begins with the task of selecting a jury, which will require a few more follow-up questions than normal. The questions are designed to determine whether each juror could be fair and impartial. There is no requirement that a juror need never have heard of the defendants or read anything about the case, Pollack said. "The trick is separating people who have some familiarity with the case, but have an open mind, from those who have already formed an opinion about the case." Following jury selection, each side will make opening statements that will cover what the lawyers believe will be the evidence to set the tone for the trial.
Some defense lawyers do not believe that Jonnie Williams, owner of the dietary supplements company under scrutiny, will be the prosecution's first witness. Presenting other evidence first could mean that by the time the jury hears from Williams -- who has been granted immunity -- some of his testimony will have been corroborated and his credibility bolstered, Pollack said. Pollack also said it is unlikely the defense has made a decision whether or not the defendants will testify. "I would be surprised if even the McDonnells know at this point whether they will testify. It is always a risky proposition for the defendant in a criminal case to take the stand. I am sure that their attorneys are preparing them for their testimony in case they are needed," he added, saying that that their attorneys likely will first want to see how the evidence looks and how many points the government seems to have scored.
This story also appeared in The Roanoke Times on July 27, 2014.