Potential terror jurors talk fear of Islam

May 18, 2011

Download Story
(WBEZ/Robert Wildeboer)
Tahawwur Rana's attorneys Patrick Blegen, left, and Charles Swift speaking to the media.

Judge Harry Leinenweber will continue calling potential jurors into his federal courtroom one at a time Wednesday morning.   He’ll ask if they have strong feelings about the Islamic faith, muslims or terrorism charges.  The judge wants to know if potential jurors can set aside prejudices should they be chosen hear the case against Tahawwur Rana.

Rana is charged with helping to plan an attack in Mumbai, India that killed more than 160 people.  Rana's attorney Patrick Blegen says, "We’re looking for people who will view the evidence and the facts and apply the law to it and won’t let their emotions overcome them and so it’s a little bit science but it’s also a lot of feeling, and a lot of viewing what the jurors say, how they say things and the answers that they gave to the questions."

Several jurors have already been excused.  One said he thought Islam was a twisted faith.  Another said he worked in a high-rise on 9/11 and would have difficulty being fair.  But attorneys have agreed on 29 potential jurors.  They need 38 before they use peremptory strikes to get to the final number of 12 jurors and six alternates.