Jury selection began Thursday in the felony invasion of privacy case against Governor Eric Greitens with 17 potential jurors being seated for further questioning.
A total of 80 prospective jurors — 40 in the morning and 40 in the afternoon — filled out questionnaires about their exposure to pre-trial publicity, but only 40 were actually subject to questioning in a slow going process by both parties’ attorney’s, as well as St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison.
Burlison excused six people during the morning session due to hardships that would prevent them from serving on the jury throughout the trial, which is expected to last through all of next week.
Ten more prospective jurors were struck by Burlison because they had formed negative opinions of Greitens. One questioned Greitens’ honesty and another said they knew about talks regarding his possible impeachment in Jefferson City. One man proclaimed Greitens was guilty in the courtroom and implied he wasn’t in jail because of his wealth.
A total of 17 prospective jurors were passed on to the next stage of questioning, which is expected to occur Monday. The prosecution and defense will each get to strike six people they feel should not serve on the jury after questioning.
The second group of 40 potential jurors, who were supposed to be interviewed Thursday, filled out their juror questionnaires and were told to return for preliminary questioning Friday morning.
For the first time since his indictment, Greitens arrived at the Civil Courts building in St. Louis for the start of his trial. Greitens was seen exiting a black SUV outside the courthouse around 8:30 a.m. and was escorted by a number of security members and St. Louis City Sheriff Deputies. He sat next to his attorney’s in court throughout the day.
Greitens is accused of allegedly taking a picture of a bound and partially nude woman with whom he was having an affair with at the time and threatened to blackmail her if she made the affair public. The trial is set to begin on Tuesday, May 15.